Sunday, August 30, 2009

Florida + California = Montana!!

So, when a blogger from Florida (me), meets two bloggers from California, bring along the husbands to celebrate Chris and Pat's 26th anniversary, the fun and laughing never stops.

This is Chris, above picture, from Knitting Mania.

We are eating dinner at a great restaurant in Philipsburg, Montana, The Philipsburg Cafe.

Chris and Pat are slowly building their retirement home in Philipsburg. They come out a couple of months every summer to continue the work. I would guess we'll see a lot of each other each summer. So great getting to know you, Chris.

This is another blogger friend from California, Dustye from Dustye's Kitchen.

Dustye and her husband, Ed, have been friends of Chris and Pat's for quite some time. It's been fun getting to know them as they are spending some time out here in Montana helping Chris and Pat with their new home.

Dustye, I'm sure we'll connect and I am thrilled to have a new friend to place FARKLE with on Facebook.

As you can see, I did not give the guys much of a chance to look up. They were very busy eating this wonderful meal set before us.

So, here we have the three bloggers. Isn't it amazing how the Internet has brought us together? We look forward to getting to know each other better in the future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our lovely Montana!

Just want to share some of our visions while here in Montana.

A fire caused by lightening. We are starting to smell the smoke.

Oops! How did that get in here?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


3 years ago, we wanted to get to Montana before the Davis Cabin was available. I found one on the lake that looked OK! The cabin itself was OK but poorly furnished and we felt there was little concern for the renter. Luckily one day I saw a lovely lady showing her "Sunrise Home" next door. She invited me to take a look and luckily we did for future reference! Little did we know that we would need to find a new home later that summer. As luck would have, the home was available and we are renting it for the 3rd summer this year. It is nicely furnished, compact but complete with 2 bedrooms and baths, washer and dryer, excellent appliances and a nice view!
In addition to the home, there is a gazebo that is a lovely spot to eat in when nice and a great spot for me to set up my fly tying rig to keep the feathers out of the house.

This is our lovely landlady, Tracy, AKA "The Wacky Wahini"! Tracy visited Georgetown a few years ago and loved the setting. She ended up owning a nice 3 BR cabin near the lake that she lovingly restored and then purchased the Sunrise Home for renting. She is a terrific hostess and really shows her concern that we are well taken care of. Tracy is a native of Hawaii and as you can see, she has won several beauty contests in the past!
This is Louie "Two Hats", our neighbor and caretaker of the home for Tracy. He is a great guy who loves to fish as much as I do. We see him taking a 2 mile walk every day before heading to the lake to fish for several hours. Believe me, he knows his stuff with a fly rod. He loves to land several "Pigs" each outing but hates those "Goofy Bastard" trout that feed all around him but will not touch his fly! He is a great buddy and a true inspiration! I hope I can do what he does at age 87!!!! TROUT

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"What do you do all day?"

One of the questions I am asked most often is, "what do you do all day while the Trout fishes?" I chuckle at the question. I have always been pretty much a loner. I love solitude and I love experiencing the beauty of nature that surrounds me. Be it walking on a beach by the ocean or walking through the mountains, I am comfortable and at peace. I do need "something" to inspire me to get out of bed though.

This is a baby blanket I just finished knitting for a first time grandmother. I hope to get it in the mail this week. It is a very favorite pattern of mine called "Estonian Lullaby Baby Blanket." This is actually the third I have made and I love the pattern. Montana is an excellent place to knit. Several years ago, we drove to the Bitterroot Valley of Montana to Corvallis, to "Mountain Colors" to buy yarn and watch how they dye it. Lovely people and their discount shelves were very inviting.

I have also been reading a lot and finished several reads with more sitting on a shelf waiting for me.

I brought my sewing machine along also. I have been plugging away sewing myself a jacket out of patchwork fabrics with the seams on the outside so that they fray and get a raggy appearance. Perfect for winter dog walking in Florida.

Of course, I spend quite a bit of time on the computer also. It is great that we have this broadband plug this year. Makes it very convenient for me and I no longer have to go to the library in the neighboring town to use their computers.

I've watched several DVD's including Benjamin Button and The Notebook. I know the Trout would not enjoy these movies, so they also made the afternoons fly by. A couple more are still waiting for me, but I will put those off for cooler days.

We are actually getting warmer out here. The weather from the southwest is reaching up here this coming week, so it will be great walking weather again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A cold start to the day

See that blazing fire? That has been pretty common here at the cabin for the last week, especially in the evenings. It has been cold...with sleet, hail and lots of rain. This morning we awoke to lots of fog over the lake and 33 degrees. Yes, it is mid-August. Now, the sun is out and it should be a beautiful week with temps reaching the upper 70's.

The one advantage of cloudy weather with rain is that our one TV channel, NBC, comes in excellent. Now that the sun is out, nothing again comes in. Talked last week to a guy at Radio Shack and he said that the TV's need to be within 23 miles of a transmitter and where we are, we are 27 miles out. Therein lies the problem. Many, many people are affected by this switch to digital TV. Those in power probably didn't give much thought to the little guy, did they?

Back a couple of weeks when I went ballistic about an antique dealer selling my family pictures at an outrageous price...well, I have gotten over it. Had a talk with my brother and he convinced me that we both have memories and they are more important than holding a picture in our hands. Bless his heart, he even offered to pay half of what it would cost to buy them. This man/woman is not getting a cent from me. Yes, I have my memories and that just suits me fine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's a Birthday!

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It was forty years ago and I was not in Woodstock, New York. I had been in the hospital since the evening of August 13, in labor. Too much labor to send me back home and not enough labor to deliver a baby. In fact, my doctor was in a golf tournament, so he was in no hurry to come back to the hospital. Finally, early Saturday morning, August 16, my doctor's partner was doing rounds and couldn't believe I was still in labor. They were giving me what was called "twilight sleep". Not enough to knock me out, but enough to keep me quiet. He immediately ordered an x-ray (no ultrasounds in those days) and found out that the baby was laying transverse or totally on her back facing up. No way I was going to deliver this way. An immediate c-section delivered a healthy 7 pound 1 ounce girl that we named Erika Susan.

Erika and I had had a long journey. She was our "made in Germany" baby. I flew back to the states when I was 6 months pregnant. The Trout was to follow a month later when he got out of the Army. My flight arrived late in New York and I missed my connecting flight. Okay, so here you have a small town kid, very pregnant and stuck in a New York airport overnight. So what to do? I found a bench in the ladies restroom and slept there overnight. Figured I would have less contact with people there and I could keep this unborn baby safe. I was a wreck. It was definitely a growing up period. It was one of the first times in my life I started using the theory that I have followed since. "What are my needs and what are my wants?" Needs always come above wants. It just has to be that way.

So, this is a picture of our first born, Erika, who turns 40 today. She has blessed us with two beautiful grandchildren. I wish you a beautiful day, Erika, and may the years that follow be as fruitful and fulfilling as possible and may God always watch over you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another new blogger friend

What can be more thrilling than meeting a fellow blogger. Well, I did that in July when the Trout and I met The Milk Man's Wife. Now I have topped that. The Trout and I went into Philipsburg, Montana, for lunch today and I met blogger friend number 2, Chris from Knitting Mania.

Chris and her husband are from California and are step by step building their retirement home out here in Montana. We are looking forward to sitting down with them sometime this summer to share a bottle of wine and to get to know each other. I find it so amazing that the computer has the capacity to bring so many people together who would never meet otherwise. You can get to know people rather well by reading their writings every day and they in turn, get to know you. I am just loving it! Oh by the way, check out the background of this picture. It was taken in the little shop where Chris is working. We talked so much, didn't even browse around. Will have to go back.

We made a little stop on the way home to check out some more Montana rental property. We could probably manage alright in this place, but not too sure if we want to get involved with the neighbors. It just might get to be a stinky situation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's a Sunny Day!

It's a sunny day, so I dropped the Trout off at the lake to go fishing and I drove into town, which is about a 25 minute drive. Picked up a few groceries and stopped in a favorite gift store I frequent every summer when I am here. I normally do not shop for myself, but this morning I could not resist. A pair of Montana-designed flip-flops that had been on sale for $26 were marked down to $15. They are called "Marilyn" and the owner of the shop, who was wearing a pair, raved about them. It is too dang cold for me to wear these in Montana, but they certainly will have lots of use, and I bet, comments, when I get to Florida.

Last night turned out to be exciting. At about 8 p.m., I looked out the window and saw a black bear, about 200 pounds worth of bear, walking through our backyard. He was looking for garbage and found some at our neighbors. He was lying on the ground like a dog and chewing away on something. When he saw us, he took off. Watched him get on his hind legs and bat at a bird feeder and then we got in the car and followed some more. He walked onto the deck and to the front door of a house up in the hills. No one was home. He was very brazen and bold and we were just a bother to him. I doubt I'll take many walks near the woods anymore, and as for the little white fluff that lives in our house, BEWARE, little Kippy, BEWARE. This guy was hungry.

We have a Verizon broadband device for our laptop while in Montana. Otherwise, we would have to go to a nearby restaurant or the library to use Wi-Fi. We have 5 GB per month that we can use and we were getting close to the end, so waited until our new month started today. Going over the 5GB, which by the way is a lot, it costs us 25 cents a minute. This broadband is the greatest thing and I thank Lena over at "Tales from Frostbite Falls" that told me all about it last year.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Mere 24 Hours

Things are seldom dull out here in Montana. In a mere 24 hours, we had enough sleet to make the road quite slippery. Then the next day a 3 hour power outage.

We were able to cook our dinner on the gas grill. We had a recipe out of the August 2009 Bon Appetit. "Salmon with Snap Peas, Yellow Peppers, and Dill-Pistachio Pistou. I cooked the orange and yellow peppers and garlic on the grill in a saute pan. Trout grilled the salmon on the grill and we had prepared ahead of time a pistou of fresh chopped dill, finely chopped green onions and finely chopped pistachios combined with a little olive oil.

It was a very tasty dinner even though we do have candles on the shopping list since it was getting a little dark in the house for eating and a little too cold outside to eat.
And the the topper...on the way home from church this morning, we saw a bear. Of course, by the time we backed-up, the little devil had walked deeper into the woods. If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you just might see a glimpse of the bear. It is always exciting and my first thought was "I am glad I am not walking by these woods this morning."

Saturday, August 8, 2009


After retiring in 1999, I had more time for summer getaways to Montana. The first year found me bunking with the Mentzer boys as I had done many times since 1982 when their dad first invited my brother and me out to do some elk hunting. (more on this great family another time.) That was the summer I entered the Helmville rodeo trying to make some worm money on bareback bucking horses!! Off I flew on the first try and the old boy turned and gave me a good stump on my right ankle for being dumb enough to try rodeo at age 55!! That was the story I told some old bank workmates along with picture of a real cowboy I took at the rodeo. THEY BELIEVED IT!! Actually I stepped on a tippy rock while fishing and took a real dandy fall. My mile long journey back to the car was rather painful but I made it! The fall produced a badly broken ankle that now sports a plate and 6 screws.

The next 2 years saw the wife and I trying the RV route and a travel trailer later. This was a lot of fun but rather cramped and a pain to set up and take down properly. I forgot to unhook the electric cord early on and I left a campground dragging the cord merrily behind us. I thought how friendly the other campers were as they gave us a big wave send off but they were really trying to tell us "You Dummies" forgot to unhook!!

So, I decided in early 2002 to try locals realtors to find a long term rental. Months went by and no replies so I decided to call them in hopes of a rental. As luck would have it, a young couple from Missoula had stopped in one office that morning to advise them that their cabin just may be available for the summer. The realtor gave me their number and I quickly gave them a call.

This is Bill and Sandy, owners of the cabin, at our anniversary dinner last Thursday. Bill is an environmental engineer and Sandy works in a dental office and have 3 great sons all in college and headed for great things! They built the cabin several years ago with logs which later was sided for better weather proving. The picture was taken during an early September snow fall! The interior was rustic but charming we thought and very homey. There was a lovely field behind the cabin with cows, horses, coyotes, etc. for a real western feel.

Bill even left us with a real nice bottle of wine to "get us started right!" For the next 5 years we spent a lot of our Montana summers in the Cabin with much joy as we shared it with many friends.

But now Bill and Sandy and the boys have more time to enjoy it themselves, for which we are glad. We had and have a great relationship with this family and we thank them for their friendship and hospitality.

I never left this place at the end of our summer stay without sobbing grateful, but sad tears.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Changing weather

Our Montana weather has been so unpredictable. Rain yesterday, in the night and again today. In fact, we just had pencil eraser-sized hail and thunder. Temperature right now is 48 F and guess, what? The Trout is out trying to drive out of this weather pattern and find a place to fish.

I told him, stop at the Sweet Palace on your way home, because I might need some chocolate. Have not had any chocolates in about a month now, and the cabin fever is getting to me. (smile)

Over a month ago, the Trout was playing catch football with our 8 year-old grandson when he got his left ring finger jammed. It hurt and he has complained some. He got himself a splint and ice pack, but on occasion it still hurt a lot. So this morning, he went in the ER and had x-rays. Seems he tore the tendon crossing the knuckle and when that ripped, it took out a small chunk of bone. So, therefore the pain. He is now in a different splint for a month. Hope this works. At least it is his left hand and he can still toss the trout flies as he back swings his fly rod.

They are starting to know us at this ER. It was just about a year ago when I went in with a broken ankle after slipping off an icy step here at the cabin on August 20.

Those $40 converter boxes that were being handed out to change TV's to digital broadcasting....well, they don't work here. With an antennae here at the cabin, we were able to get NBC and CBS which was great, because all we really are interested in is the news. Well, now we get nothing. A lot of people who live "out" a ways are having this trouble. Nobody thought about that, did they? The strange thing is, no one knows who to call to fix this. Certainly Dish network people do not want to get involved and there is no cable out here. Strange, very strange.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6, 1966

That was the day Trout and I got married. It's been quite a journey since then. We actually had set August 12 for the wedding, but a week before I ordered the invitations, my brother, Corwin, a lieutenant in the Air Force, got orders for Vietnam and he was leaving around the 10th of August.

So, we moved it up, because the wedding really wasn't so much about us as it was about our family and friends and I needed my only sibling to be there. Then, we had this other problem which has always been a joke between us. Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and his daughter, Lucy, was getting married August 6 and we knew it would mess up our invitation list something terrible!

It was a candlelight wedding at 7 p.m. Good thing I planned that, because the Trout had all his college buddies down for the wedding and as was custom in those days, the bachelor party was the night before the wedding. I doubt any of the guys, including the groom, would have arrived at an earlier wedding.

Wedding cake and coffee at the church and then we went to my parents' home for a real "German" celebration with food and beer.

Another coincidence with Lucy, was that she and her new husband were honeymooning in Nassau. Well. we drove to Miami and then flew to Nassau also that week. I think they were staying in the higher priced living quarters!

I wish I had a wedding picture to show you because when you have been married that long, those pictures are such hoots! The pictures are all in Florida, so next year I will have to show you what we looked like then.

So, we are heading to Missoula for another dinner again tonight. We are meeting dear Montana friends and it will be an enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The day has not started out well

I am somewhat hesitant in posting today, because it has not been a very good day so far. One phone call, and I am in a scattered state of mind.

For those of you who don't know me well, I grew up in a national tourist attraction area, the Amana Colonies, in Iowa. Eight years ago, at my parents' estate sale, everything that my brother and I did not want was auctioned. I thought we had gone through the sentimental things and had what we wanted. I did not attend the auction because of the extreme emotions connected with selling everything in a home that had been in the family 150 years.

Now, eight years later, the emotions are coming back. I read an ad in the local paper that an antique store in Amana was selling picture postcards from my family's estate. I called to find out what they were. Back in the 1920-30's, when black and white photos were taken, they were put onto postcards. You find many on ebay selling for under $1 up to $10; pictures of towns, state capitols, and so forth.

The lady I talked to said they were pictures of my grandfather, father, aunt, and so forth. Almost 75 of them. They must have slipped through the cracks because I have many postcards of the towns, etc., but not of people. I asked the price and she said $20 to $30 EACH. I think I am still in shock! These are pictures of my family, my heritage. Why would anyone want to buy these and why is it now impossible for me to possess these at these prices? When I asked if the dealer was willing to negotiate, she said the dealer would give a 10% discount on anything over $21.

I have to rationalize that yesterday I did not know about this, so why should it make a difference to me now? These are photos of my family that I would like to have and pass on to my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Is there something wrong with this whole set-up?

I do know, if I ever walk into another antique store, I will have a different mindset than ever before. I will be thinking of where an item came from and if it really should be mine now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A very good repast

Saturday evening, we drove into the neighboring town of Philipsburg, Montana, for an early anniversary dinner. The Philipsburg Cafe has been a favorite spot of ours since we discovered it three years ago. Mike and Meredith left Boston and moved to Montana where he has put his fantastic cooking expertise to bring a fine dining experience to little P-burg.

You would have to travel many miles to get a meal of duck confit with polenta, sauteed squash and an orchid on the side. The Trout loved the duck, and I can attest it was very delicious. I had to try Mike's horseradish crusted prime rib, rare to medium rare --the only way to eat it :)--also with the polenta and squash. It was fantastic.

We had a beautiful salad before this entree, of fresh greens, blue cheese, carmelized walnuts, green apple slices, champagne vinaigrette and a good sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. Outstanding!
We normally don't order dessert, but it comes with the fixed price of $25. This was triple delight chocolate cake which was outstanding! Mike came out as we were eating dessert and we praised his efforts. He had to apologize for the dessert. He had wanted to make a raspberry coulis with it, but could not get to the store for the raspberries because he is also a volunteer fireman and duty called. What else can I say? I love this small town stuff. The coffee was freshly ground and we brought our own bottle of wine along. This turned out to be an excellent choice; Horse Heaven Hills Merlot, 2006. We will definitely be back this summer for his excellent dinners.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

St. Timothy's at Southern Cross

While in Montana during July and August, we like to go to church on Sunday's at St. Timothy's. It is located at 7000 feet altitude, above Georgetown Lake, at the ghost town of Southern Cross. The chapel was dedicated in 1965 by a family in remembrance of their son, Timothy Dillon Bowman, who died at the age of 18 in 1956. Timothy was a theological student at the time of his death. The church is under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church.

The church seats 150 and only has services June through August, but the view over Georgetown Lake is magnificent. You see the Pintler Wilderness area and the Continental Divide with peaks soaring to a height of 11,000 feet. Guest pastors come to spend the summer here and they all fall in love with this Montana view.

The stained glass and the view of the sky, clouds and mountains make this a very special place indeed. We always look forward to coming back and meeting old friends that we make during fellowship time after the service.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's Not the City

This has been a most unusual summer for Montana. Usually by this time, we have so much dry weather, that grilling is outlawed and the smell of forest fires is prevalent. But, because trout streams are in some of the most beautiful areas of the world, it is necessary to drive through uncommon roads to get where the trout are. As you can see by our car, this is not city driving.

But, this is beautiful Montana, and I have the best viewpoint of all. The mountains, the lake, a bottle of wine, my books and notepads for quick thoughts, and my knitting. This is called relaxing in a big way.