Sunday, October 30, 2011

It is still October???

Marvin and Bobby who is 4 years old
Mitch and Nichole with Jasper the youngest at 10 months
Mitch, Steven (6), Kacey (9), Bobby (4), Marvin, Adam (2), Jasper, Nichole
10-30-2011 in windy Logan Pass on the east side -- Upper St. Mary Lake!

You can tell November is right around the corner.....Mr. Wind has arrived in all his glory and is whipping around the valleys and mountains! Nothing is safe from him! This will last through to spring...I mean, it blows most of the year, but this is the really serious windy season that seems to last forever!

The first few pictures are of Mitch (our youngest son) and his family Nichole and all the boys! We met up with the in Great Falls on October 08, 2011 (I believe that was the date)...we delivered to them 19 of our laying hens for Kacey's egg business. I wanted to get out of the hen business...but I still have 19!..too! They will give us and Jason and Kara enough eggs for our cooking.

I have also confined them in a pen and hen house...they used to have the run of a 40 x 100 foot quonset and who knows where they laid their was a hunt each and every day. The piles of lumber and so forth made it a true adventure trying to find all the eggs. I now know exactly where they are and where they lay -- in the hen house!

Have to go check on my bread that is baking! Everyone have a great Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 2011

Window or Yard ornament
Side view
Top view
Red lights inside
Stuff you will need
Logan Pass on an overcast rainy day
Logan Pass on east side by St. Mary
Logan Pass on east side by St. Mary
The wonderful Wild Goose Island photo area! Always a good shot!

October 2011 is just about over. It seems I am lucky to get a once a month entry into my blog for friends and family who do not have a Face Book account.

A friend, Donna Ridgway, gave a written suggestion on how to make a spook for your front lawn or window. I used a 1-1/2 gallon plastic ice cream bucket for this project. Cut two holes to insert the eyes (ping pong balls)...not too big of actually just want to fit the balls into the holes and hot glue them in place...then I hot glued around them. You will need a can of the foam insulation spray and spray around the eyes and all over the bucket. I painted black spots on the eyeballs and protected them with Mod Poge a clear liquid that seals the paint. You can paint the foam when it drys but I think it looks fine just the way it is sprayed on. My nose slipped because I put it into the wet foam. I have some ears I will attach later with the hot glue. There was a suggestion that you could put a wig on the top and so many other things that you may think up. Then you can put a colored bulb inside and wha-la...a Halloween spook for your lawn or window.

I took a drive up Logan Pass in Glacier National Park last Wednesday -- it was an overcast rainy day...I call that mystic when driving in the Pass. You can only go to Jackson Glacier on the east side now otherwise the road is closed to vehicles past that point. There are still hikes to take etc as long as the road is not closed by snow storms.

I saw several happy hikers striking off on various trails. St. Mary Falls is a favorite; Sun Rift Gorge was a little busy; but it is a lovely to just be able to view the upper St. Mary Lake and see Wild Goose Island. The trees were still in some of their fall finery! The leaves are leaving fast now. We actually had a wonderful fall season this year. Mr. Wind did not come up and blow them all a way within a week like he usually does.

Snow squalls here today on October 25, 2011.

Everyone have a great Halloween if I don't post anymore this next week...and a welcome to November!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall 2011

It is a long way down there!The Highline Trail along the rock wall
Happy Hiker Marvin
Happy Hiker, Judy Elizabeth
A view from the trail

Waterton Lake from our favorite beach
Red Rock Canyon
Prince of Wales Hotel built in 1926 opened in 1927
Cameron Lake
Red Rock Canyon rocks

We decided to get out and about a few days ago. It seems I have been recovering from one knee problem after another in the past 2 years since I retired.

On the 28th of September Marvin and I went to Logan's Pass and it was very cold and windy...we walked around and then came home.

On the 29th of September we went to Waterton Lakes International Peace Park in Alberta Canada (connects to Glacier National Park in the US).

Today, the 30th, we went back to top of Logan Pass to try to walk a ways on the Highline Trail. I awoke felt good and my knees and feet felt good so I suggested to Mavin that we tackle the Highline Trail. We have not been on this trail for at least 30 years.

Lovely day, sun out and warming up. Fifteen minute delay on the way up and at least a 15 minute delay on the way out of the parking lot at Logan. But it is worth it.

We arrived around 10 am and began our hike...we did not go that far because we knew we had to come back and it would be mostly uphill. Picture number 2 depicts the rock wall on the trail. This is where I heard a voice behind me from my husband -- something about going back. I turned because I thought he was joking and by the look on his face I realized he was not. He did not like the feel of the trail or how he felt. I said don't look down just look at the trail. I wanted to go a little further and he agreed. He did not like the fact that the wind had really come up and it could be dangerous for us on that high narrow trail. At one time it was obvious that there had been a cable along the rock wall -- the eye bolts were still there but no cable. I think that would have made us both feel better, but the height and wind did not bother me.

I had hoped to get off the rock wall area and into the trail on the side of the hill but it was also obvious that it would be a mostly uphill hike back to the parking lot at Logan. So we decided to return after having a bite to eat and rest on a large rock past the rock wall.

Never want to "over do" especially since I have had three major surgeries on my left knee in the past 2 years.

I wore my uniform issued boots and they were just right for this type of hiking. Supported my feet and no slippage on rocks etc.

When we got to the bottom of the Pass at St. Mary we decided to stop in and get a bite to eat at St. Mary's Lodge. The food was excellent. We had a prime rib (slivered) sandwich, fries, salad and it was very good!

Our day in Waterton was a delight but we had a really bad meal at Zum's restaurant -- I told them about it but no one seemed to care.

We had a lovely hand made waffle cone and great ice cream at the ice cream shop...that helped with the awful lunch.

It was calm when we arrived in Waterton but the wind did pick up and when we were up by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel on that high hill looking down over the town site of Waterton, the wind was really howling.

The Prince of Wales Hotel was closed for the season. It looked pretty lonesome up there without tourists running about and flowers everywhere. But at least we could find a parking place in a very small parking area by the Hotel.

Cameron Lake is delightful and it was very still and not windy when we were there. A women pulling a kayak came rushing to the lake and had such a look of pure joy on her face. It was a perfect day to kayak for sure! Marvin said he had never been to Cameron Lake which surprised me. Always busy with the ranch over the years. When our sons were young we (the boys and I) would go biking in the town site and drove all over the place. Waterton has always been such a delight to me. Going up to see Red Rock Canyon we came upon a very fat black bear eating berries along the road. Red Rock Canyon was also beautiful.

A very good friend of our gave us a the book "Chief Mountain International Highway" by Chris Morrison. This is a really informative little book about the Chief Mountain Highway and the building of the Prince of Wales and the whole of Waterton Lakes town site.

I am hoping my knee keeps improving and I can do more and more with it. I am able to get back on my pedal bike and to go a ways. I am so totally out of shape that it is rather hard to go too far. And I do not want to overdo anything to cause any problems with it. Three surgeries on the same knee is quite enough for me.

Marvin and I have had a good time these past few days enjoying getting out into our beautiful area that we live in.

Happy trails to all...take care and be good to each other!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Memories and Changing Seasons!

Top photo is view from back yard
Second photo is of a black bear and cub digging around on the hill side
Third picture is of Marvin and his horse, Spike...ready to get in the saddle
Another picture of the channels of water out back door
Last picture is of Marvin and I in 1970, around Christmastime

I began this post on our wedding anniversary, September 18, 2011...and then got sidetracked! We did not have a traditional wedding by any means. I had always wanted a small wedding if I ever married -- I thought it really foolish to spend all that money on a expensive wedding when you could put it into a down payment on a home or other important life necessities.

However, our wedding was "way small"...we were married by the Marriage Commissioner in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada...they had to call in two clerks as witnesses -- now that is "way small"...we have no pictures of that day, which is really a shame. I remember I wore a lovely light colored turquoise (Vogue pattern) dress that I had made and wore lovely gray leather pumps and gray leather purse. I wore my turquoise jewelry -- my birthstone. Marvin wore western. We stayed overnight in Lethbridge and when we returned to the ranch, Marvin's dad wanted to know "what took us so long"...and the adventure began.

I remember there was a lady at the lodge that told me to go home and think it over and if I really wanted to do this (get married) then to come back. What did she know that I did not, always thought that was an interesting comment to make. However, I did not go home. My parents came out before our marriage and we really should have gotten married when they were here but for some reason I cannot remember now, we waited until September. We planned on getting married on September 11, 1970...but a very big snow storm hit and the roads were really bad -- we spent the day pulling tourists from the ditches. This snow brought on the change of seasons. (One should probably stay a winter in the place they will call home and check out the weather extremes prior to making any long-term commitments.)

Winter did come that year and it never left! We stayed at the guest lodge for the first winter...

We could have lived up at the lodge with Marvin's dad, but I saw the "writing on the wall" and knew that I would be taking care of his father and the lodge from then on if we stayed there.

There was an old homestead on part of the ranch and I thought with a little "fixing up" we could live there...good golly, cows had used it for shelter at some time with all the cow pies in there. Toilet full of "stuff"...we later found out that people would camp out in the old home in the summers. It was certainly going to be a challenge. The home had begun with a log cabin maybe one and then another section attached. A large living room was added on as well as a large kitchen. The bathroom might have been an afterthought or because of circumstances was put in later. There were two porches. I did like the sink by one of the back doors. We had a local person fix up the house inside as much as possible. Outside it was an early gray chipped stucco shack-type construction. There was frame and then chicken wire and then stucco which was chipping off. The roof was tar paper with a full shingle-type paper laid over it. The ceilings were low, like maybe 7 feet. Flies came out like a swarm of bees during the winter whenever it warmed up. I did not know that many flies existed, anywhere. The toilet/plumbing never really worked...we discovered why many years later. Marvin came with a bit of a "hope chest" -- some furniture, dishes, stuff like that -- good thing. I always thought and expressed that a hope chest was rather foolish and that if the person I married could not afford the necessities I could not afford to marry him -- silly me -- I did come with a sewing machine, however!

My first real shock came when I found out that farmers/ranchers lived on borrowed money until the end of year when they sold their product and then got "paid"! These were the days when the fuel companies, farm implement dealers, and other farm enterprises kept a "tab" going until the end of the season when calves, hay, grain was sold and then the farmer/rancher would "settle up" with them. Astounding! (I remember when I worked positions in the Chicago area and they paid once a month -- I thought that was very strange! But once a year!)

My husband put up those sticky fly strips...I cannot tell you how many times I caught my long hair in those darn things hanging here and there! Awful!

Quantity grocery shopping was another eye opener for me. How on earth could you shop for a whole season in one day at some kind of huge food warehouse. (I do remember that this same warehouse did home deliveries in a big truck -- astounding to be sure.) Back in Illinois we shopped for, maybe, a week of food...we had the refrigerator with a small freezer on top. My new family had these big chest freezers. I do remember buying way too many kidney beans and tomato soup that year -- hard to ever buy any more. It had something to do with my Mom's Hungarian Goulash recipe.

I found so many interesting items out in the piles of old cars, wagon wheels, etc...that I would drag them in and decorate our little home with them. The inside was mostly knotty pine with knotty pine cupboards -- a whole lot of knotty pine cupboards! I loved knotty pine, which was good thing.

Marvin brought down an old cook stove that they had in Nebraska. It was really unique (I thought, anyway) was nice and large with a grill in the middle and had a cover that folded up and when you were not using it, you could fold it back down and cover the burners. Now, the real problem that I found with this stove was that it ran on Propane...propane was totally foreign to me and the only thing I had heard about propane was when someones home blew up because of a propane leak and that the propane tanks can take off like jets and cremate anything in its course! Then I found out we were going to heat with wood!

Well, all these concerns paled when Mr. Wind arrived on the scene...we lived with tornadoes in Illinois...good golly...the wind was like have a tornado come every day -- day in and day out and all could it blow that hard that long?

The old homestead was not a warm home by any means...the wind howled in and around all the cracks and the old windows rattled...I assumed there was insulation in the walls...however, the cotton and paper had slid down many years ago and there was nothing much to stop the wind and cold and flies from coming in for a visit. We had to get an old bed out of storage that had a headboard so our hair was not rearranged during the night. I used to joke that if I put my arm beyond the headboard to stretch, the wind would blow it back in.

I now had made the inside of our home as comfortable as possible and my "rules of the house" were very strictly enforced. Absolutely no shoes in the house -- we, after all, did live in very close proximity to a corral full (at times) of cattle and very smelly stuff. I had a sign posted at the top of door jam as you entered the living room -- it stated "absolutely no dirty bodies beyond this point"...this sign was hung with yarn and would blow in the wind most of the time -- nice fresh air coming from the ceiling, I assumed!

The wood stove was in the kitchen...there was no heat in the back bathroom (the only bathroom) with crazy a "mind-of-it-own" toilet. No heat in the bedrooms...we were finally able to buy a used propane (Propane!) heater for the living room. The electric power would go off and stay off for days, weeks at a time. Thank goodness for the channels of water outside our back door and for the -- Okay, I am going to say it -- the wonderful propane cook stove and propane heater! We could boil our water for baths etc and could keep cooking food.

We lived in this home for about 10 years until we had a new home built beside, all new and clean -- no mice, flies, bats, skunks, shrews, and so many other critters were left behind!

By now we had a new well and septic system another real plus.

Well, the day is beautiful outside and I just have to get out to this great weather before Winter comes I will leave this adventure for now.

Everyone take care of each other!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here We Go Again!

Me and my beaver pole
Leg brace (0nce again) and my very sturdy beaver walking pole
Marvin just in from baling hay!

As I mentioned in my last post I had to have a new repair surgery on my already repaired patella or knee cap. Incision was right along the lines of the last two incisions...I am so glad that I heal well and rather fast.

My left knee had been bothering me for many years prior to my knee replacement in August of 2009...that was quite a recovery -- had lots of problems with the pain meds. I am best if I don't take anything stronger than a Tylenol. Recovered from that surgery and physical therapy. Was back to riding my pedal bike. Doing great, along comes February 5th of 2011...I just had to go out and feed the chickens. Wrong move, very wrong. There was a skiff of snow covering all the ice that had accumulated over the awful winter. Coming back with bucket of eggs I found myself on the ground and smashed down on my knee repair. I had felt something pop/snap. In between storms I had surgery on February 7th. That surgery went well recovery was quite easy. I was having more problems with my back and bursitis in my legs than the knee cap. Finally was able to get back on my bike, that was short-lived. My knee cap had slid to the left. X-rays...did not hurt...continue with PT...then it began to hurt a lot and more often...had tried a brace to keep the knee cap where it should be, that only worked for a short time.

Back to doctor on July 25th, X-ray showed that the repaired knee cap was coming apart. Scheduled for surgery next morning. I asked for all the same meds that they gave me in February...all went well, I have some of knee cap left. I was told a person does not need a knee cap. But I asked for a much as could be saved...up and walking right after I woke up and had my peach smoothie. Round the hospital floor we went. Had the tubes taken out...did not need the oxygen etc. I was up and walking with the full black leg brace. PT came in on the 27th -- I walked around the floor again and then did the stairs to show them I could go home and take care of myself. Marvin was with me, of course, and stayed with me in the hospital overnight and was wonderful. Doctor in at 7 am, I hurried up everyone so we could checkout and be on our way.

Great to be home -- it was hard to "stuff" that stiff leg into my van but we got the job done. Shopped a little and then on to home -- 3 hours. It was wonderful to get home and see all the flowers etc. There just is no place like home for me!♥ Marvin brought in my red-hot colored walker on wheels in case I needed it but I have swung my leg in and out of bed and walked stiff-legged to the bathroom so much in the past 2 years that I don't know how else to get in and out of bed.

...and so "on the mend again"...there is no pain involved...just a little burning by the staples and the pressure from the leg brace and wrap -- I am using the wrap this time because it helps the brace to stay up...........

Everyone take care .... if you haven't already ....... take really good care of your body parts so they last a long time!

Oh, I have to give credit to my industrious beavers -- they made the lovely heavy-duty pole that I have used since my first patella repair. I am not happy that they have cut down every tree in our back area however!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 2011

Beautiful Pink Columbine and Hybrid Lilac Bush
Grand Union Hotel Fort Benton
Beautiful Pink Peony

Grand Union Hotel Front Desk
Grand Union Hotel Side/Front View
Chief Mountain from our hills up north
Grand Union Hotel Front Room

The Grand Union Hotel was built in 1882 in Fort Benton, Montana! It was a hub for visitors that came in on river boats . River boats came in from the Gulf of Mexico to Fort Benton for many years bringing needed supplies and trappers, fur traders, dignitaries, etc to the inner most waterway in the United States. If you get out a map and follow the waterways up to Fort Benton you can see it was a very long way.

I have always wanted to spend a night in this grand old hotel. Our son and daughter-in-law and their boys were camping in Fort Benton in early July. This gave us a chance to visit with them and to stay at the historic hotel and to enjoy the museums in the area and interpretive center. We all toured the reconstructed fort and could imagine how it was in those days when someone would trade a buffalo robe for a cook pot or whatever else was needed to make their lives a little easier in those long ago times.

The Grand Union Hotel is located right on the Missouri River in a great place to welcome all the waterway visitors of the time. We had a beautiful room on the river side. The hotel has been renovated and looks and feels wonderful. We had a great meal in their lovely dining room -- buffalo with huckleberry sauce, finger potatoes, wonderful homemade artisan bread!

Fort Benton these days is really off the "beaten path" so to speak. A person can imagine that it could have been as big or bigger than Great Falls is today. But Fort Benton is not near any major highway or on the way to a certain place. You have to want to go to Fort Benton. It is 206 miles from our ranch through fields of hay and grain. We took the Highline highway US 2 and then turned at Chester Montana and headed out into the rolling fields of hay and grain. Marvin and I totally enjoyed our stay in Fort Benton. Lovely little town with so very much history and beauty on the Missouri River with the beautiful high banks and wide river.

Other pictures of my hybrid lilac bushes that bloom after the regular lilac bushes and are covered with wonderful smelling smaller flowers. I adore my Columbines and the pinks were especially beautiful this year. Along came the end of July and our lovely peonies that our son, Jason, planted. The pinks are totally divine...and the whites are terrific.

It is haying time on the ranch. We had a very late summer this year but everything is still green. We did have flood watches on the St. Mary River that runs behind our home place and the channels outside our back door did get really full and were running wild there for a while. But all has calmed down now. The birds have raised their young and have gone on to other areas.

I had recovered from my fractured patella (knee cap) that happened when I fell on the ice in February...was doing my physical therapy...then the knee cap began a slide to the left of my knee. Pain came along...x-rayed on last Monday (25th of July) showed that the knee cap was falling apart...scheduled surgery on Tuesday morning (26th) here I am with my once-again stiff left leg in a full black velcro brace going through recovery again. Hoping this is the last time for that. I was riding my pedal bike before this happened and was discouraged to have to put that away. I have a little bit of the patella left now and hope it stays in place and I can be back up and around on my bike soon. Especially before another winter hits us.

Hoping all that read this are well and enjoying life and all the beauty that surrounds us each day in the simple things such as beautiful flowers and blue skies and tall green grass!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mr. Wind and other things!

All lined out!
Female Merganser Duck with babies! They all tried to jump on top of her and sunk her back side!
Getting the heck out there as they rounded the bend in the channel!

June 26, 2011 --The day started out sunny with a bit of a chill in the air. Now, the clouds have taken the Sun and hidden it from view. Mr. Wind is making that soulful sound of a weather change – as is sometimes heard in the fall and winter. At those times I cast my eye to the skies and smell the air for rain or snow.

The skies have turned to an overall light gray and it is spitting rain. Mr. Wind is rather cool and penetrating as he whips my hair around and tries to take the quonset door from my hands. I have just fed and watered my laying hens – and gathered fresh eggs. As I was cleaning the water tubs, the sounds of wind caught my immediate attention. I am thinking Summer is finally here, but the sound of Mr. Wind is not a summer sound at all. Maybe the sound is magnified by the quonset walls and the open areas that the wind can come in and sail right through or dash about inside the metal walls. But it is the "change in weather wind"!

As I come out, I hang on tight to the big metal door so it does not crash onto me!

I just spoke to my husband who is up on the north part of our ranch and he said it is “kind-a snowing” up there mixed with the rain. That part of the ranch/farm is another 500 feet up in elevation from the home place where I am.

Jessie, the young Brown Swiss milk cow, gave birth to a little red bull calf this morning –we were all hoping for a heifer (female) so it could grow up to be another milk cow. Jessie is very friendly and was a bum calf when Jason and Kara purchased her from a dairy heard of Brown Swiss cross dairy cattle (meaning a mixture of two breeds of cattle).

The other day when I was on our back lawn by the water channels I saw a type of duck that I had never seen before. It was a female Merganser with about nine or more little baby ducks swimming in the channel. I will post a picture or two of them. Pardon my rather out of focus pictures, I was trying to catch them as they sped away from me.

Have a great day and hope all is well where you are!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day!

My Daddy, Robert Louis Eckart Sr. or Bobby to his family and friends
My Dad's high school graduation picture 1928 from New Trier HS in Illinois
Oops, somehow I put my little brother's pic in: Robert Louis Eckart Jr or Bobby!
George, Robert (Bobby), Otto (Ottie), and Emil Eckart brothers (Otto and George are twins)
Emil (Puddy) and Robert (Bobby) Eckart (in back) Brothers

In celebration of Father's Day I have added my photos of my Daddy, Robert Louis Eckart! He was one of nine children (includes a set of twins -- George and Otto) born to Otto Eckart and Hiley Epps Eckart.

My father was the 8th child in the family and was called Bobby all his life by his family. His family consisted of two older sisters then seven brothers plus the ninth brother, Emil or Puddy as he was known all his life (it might have been spelled Puddie, I am not sure).

Dad's father died when he was young and his Mom died when he was 13 year old. He went to live with his older sister, Lil and her husband William. Lil and Bill were very dear to my Dad and we kids all loved them very much. We were always going for a visit at Aunt Lil and Uncle Bill.

A Happy Father's Day to all of the Dad's out there.........take care and have a great day...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rain and more Rain!

From our top story deck looking east to St. Mary by the pines and our channels outside our door!
Looking to the southwest from our deck to the channels that wrap around our yard

These scenes will look familiar since I tend to take these two shots at various times of the year. These are my views from my back deck of our home. We are right on the channels, so to speak! Out the door and there is water everywhere. Beyond these channels are ponds and more waterways.

There is a lot of extreme flooding all over Montana this year with the snowpack at 200% in most areas up in the mountains. There has also been new snow in the mountains with rain at our elevation (4400 feet). We have really no idea how bad the waterways will get in our area until the snow really begins to melt. St. Mary is running very muddy and rushing into our channels right outside our door as you can see from the pictures in this post.

Hope wherever you are that you are safe!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eary Morning Stroll Across the Front Meadow

"Wait for me Mom!"
Mother Grizzly with three (3) Cubs! (Only 2 visible here)
Sow grizzly, cubs behind her

Sunday stroll across the front meadow -- one little guy is out of the picture trying to catch up!

As I was talking to our family outside of Judith Gap, I spotted this group of grizzlies progressing across our front meadow. A sow grizzly with 3 bouncing cubs. She was coming from down south and heading north west to Kennedy Creek area. Looking for food I would imagine! They looked healthy.

Marvin and I drove out into the meadow and I took these pictures from a distance with my new camera which has a great zoom lens! We would have had a great picture as she crossed our gravel road on her way to Kennedy Creek, except for the fact that Meadow Muffin (horse) thought these were mighty interesting critters and she ran ahead of the pickup and blocked our shot of all 3 cubs and Mom standing up at our wire gate trying to figure out who and what all these critters where that were coming at them. So, they took off for Kennedy Creek a whole lot faster and all we would have gotten from there were some good (maybe) butt shots.

Have a safe and wonderful day from our ranch to yours!