Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Once the yard sale was over, and I’d gone through everything looking for more stuff to get rid of, it was time to think about getting on the road again.

The yard sale was so successful, that I had enough money to buy a topper for Luv. It arrived on Monday morning, and Janet and I with Stephanie supervising, put it together. We got all but the last two snaps on each side done, and then I needed someone to drill a couple small holes to finish the job. Trust me, since I am once again photo challenged, it looks real nice. (That’s southern for “holy cow, she’s a beaut”!

Time to load up. A friend of Janet’s generously offered to help load the two dressers. (Oak, heavy, really, really heavy) Myra and JT were to help, also, but JT had some health issues, and could not help in the end. Myra and I met at the storage lot where two young men were helping someone in the same building, and she offered them $5 each to load the dressers. Deal! But when one fellow saw the dressers, he opted out saying he had a stomach ache, and couldn’t lift those dressers. So, with Myra and me on one end, and the other fellow on the opposite, we loaded them in.

For the next 5 hours is was just me and Myra. And really, I don’t think more people would have been much help. Myra was in the trailer packing, and I hauled out whatever sized item she wanted to fit in a specific spot. She’s an excellent packer. However, she is adamant!!! This is the very last time she is going to help me move.

The plan was to take one of the rolling shelf units – in tact- to my daughter in Richmond. I thought of putting a layer of totes on the bed of the truck, then slide in the shelf, tying it to secure it, and packing in and around it. But with many warnings on how I could be killed if it came flying through the back window, it was put directly on the bed, and really packed in.

She bet me that when my daughter saw how the shelf was packed in, she’d tell me thanks, anyway- you keep it. Not an option, I had to pick up a sofa from her and take it to New York.

I got to Richmond around 6 p.m. – already dark. The plan had been to unload immediately, then get up and leave for Brooke’s at about 6 a.m. to join her for an outing.

Didn’t happen. I met Riley, a newly adopted grandpup, a companion for Brownie, we went out for dinner, or rather, didn’t because of the long lines and fell gratefully into bed. Up early, we had to unload 90% of the truck to get the shelf out, - loaded in the sofa, and threw all the bags (big, big space bags of fabric) back into the truck and went out to lunch.

While there, My daughter gave me a down comforter she decided she didn’t want any more. I’d never owned a down comforter, but enjoyed them in a couple guest rooms on my journey. So I jumped at the offer.

Before I left, I had to back the trailer and turn around. It’s a good thing I had plenty of room! It took about 30 minutes to accomplish the job. What a nightmare! I’ve got to make sure I don’t get into a situation where I have to turn around again.

I finally hit the road – it’s only about an hour to Brooke’s and since she was away from home til the afternoon, it was a leisurely drive. The trailer towed beautifully!!! I need to peel the rest of the film off the back side windows – they make it hard to see any vehicle in my blind spot.

I arrived, and had not even turned the ignition off, when Brooke called to say she was on the way. In September, Brooke had just her two working dogs with her, but now she had the “girls”, too. Gabby, a 4# bundle of noise and energy, and Guapa, about 8# of Spanish lady. Guapa is the matriarch at about 10 years of age.

As I walked up to the house, Gabby was in the window barking her head off. I had trouble opening the front door because of Denver and Andy jumping up on it, then 12 feet and 3 tails exploded past me and down the path. Guapa was last out. She ran down the path about 4 – 5 feet, stopped, looked back at me, looked at the 3 tails disappearing down the path, then ran back to me and smothered me with puppy kisses. Aw-w-w the joy of grandpups!

Brooke arrived back from a day of horse shopping. I had a horse when I was a teenager, and my girls were raised on horseback. Brooke has a friend with horses and she has accompanied her on many horse camping trips and trail rides, and has decided it is time to get her own.

We went to her friend’s house for a bonfire and a meal of hot dogs, and S’mores. It was delightful. Brooke wanted me to see the baby rabbits. One was brought out for me to hold. It was just a few days old, so tiny and soft, and ew-w-w-wue! It peed on me!!!! And peed, and peed. I swear something that little couldn’t have that big of a bladder!!! Brooke has a photo as proof of my humiliation – I’ll have to get her to e-mail it to me. Brooke claimed she held one for 20 minutes and it didn’t pee on her. Her friend’s husband says that in 20 years, he has never had one pee on him. So, what’s so special about me?

Brooke has a new camera outfit – SLR digital, so she decided I needed to upgrade my camera and swapped her Panasonic for my Canon. It is an improvement – has more pixels, and has much better color. She didn’t know where the manual was, but showed me where the chip was and told me there was an opening on my computer for it. (Not there) I’ve always used a cord connection to upload photos. We looked at my cord and decided it would fit (it didn’t) So - once again, I am photo challenged!
No more photos until I get the needed equipment from her. (But I still can do the long past due blogs of Montana - and will!)

In the morning, I dropped off the stuff I had for Brooke, and headed for NY. It was such a beautiful fall day. The trees were in top form and flaming with color. It wasn’t until I got to NY that it was obvious the peak of color had passed.

I tried to program Jack to take a certain exit, but couldn’t get it set up. As I was gliding up the New Jersey turnpike, I spotted my exit. Oops, too late, can’t make it with the trailer tagging along, and traffic behind me. So, once again, up the turnpike I went. But, let me tell you, I didn’t feel as vulnerable driving Luv. When I had to stop, I just made sure I used parking spaces
I could just pull through. Except for one stop. I was getting sleepy, so I slowly pulled through the parking area – but there was no place for truck/trailer rigs. I spotted a small parking area that opened to the road, and stopped. Upon returning to Luv, I saw that the entry to the road was blockaded. Oh, crap! I can’t back that trailer. Luckily, there were few cars in the lot, and I was able, finally to make a U-turn and get out of there.

I arrived in Glens Falls late that night. The next morning, we unloaded the trailer – thank goodness for big, strong teenaged boys! Then it was time to take the trailer back. Did I mention Angie lives on a dead-end street? That means backing and turning the trailer. First Amanda tried – then I tried. No matter how careful we were, the trailer wouldn’t go where we wanted it to go.

So, what do Real Women do when confronted with a situation like this? Real women unhitch the trailer, turn it and the truck around, re-hitch and head off down the road!!!!!

Until next time!
Bear Hugs

Luv ‘n Boots

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It's a beautiful morning. The sun is shining brightly bringing out the fall colors beautifully. It's warmer than yesterday.

Tomorrow I load up and head for NY.

But, first, I have to go to the Post Office, the DMV and the Bank.. But wait!
Oops, today is Veterans day. Can't do any of those things. Blast - I'll have to do it in the am, before I leave for NY - didn't want to have to do that.

Well, I guess I'll go out and put the velcro for the new topper on Luv. Have to clean the area first with alcohol so the velcro will stick - and need to wait 24 hours before fastening so it will be well stuck.

Walked out the door - where is Luv? What the Hey!!!!???? Luv is no where to be found. Was she stolen? Couldn't have been towed - I had a visitor's pass. Well, I was wrong. She was towed, and whoever called it in told the tow company to
Luv was an unauthorized vehicle and to tow it whether or not there was a visitor's pass. $125.00 to get her back!!!

Janet left a message with the President of the Condo association, and will call the board as soon as it is 9.00a.m. This just about couldn't happen at a worse time.
So much to do today.

I'll continue this post as soon as this gets resolved.

Well, I got Luv back - $125.00 later, and about an hour trying to find the impound lot. Still no explanation as to why she was towed.

Janet is trying to get ahold of a board member to find out about it - but seems the holiday has caused a delay on that front.

I want my $125 refunded, or I want a really, really good explanation. (Like, if it is in the rules that a visitor can only stay so long, and I've outstayed my welcome)
Janet doesn't remember any such rule - but we'll get to the bottom of it at any rate.

I barely made it to Jackie's for lunch. And, what a delicious meal - fried chicken, beans and fresh bread. Jackie, unlike me, loves to cook and uses herbs and spices expertly. Jackie is also the bread expert. She's the one who introduced me to making bread. Jackie is also an artist, and teaches art locally.

I left there, meaning to make a couple stops, before heading to John and Violet's for dinner. Yes, it was that kind of day. But, I headed home, picked up my book (Girl Who Played with Fire), read for awhile, then fell asleep. Luckily, I woke up in time to leave.

Violet is also an excellent cook (So's John), and we had Hungarian Chicken and salad.
Oh, and apple cider - fresh apple cider - oh, so good. We had the company of cats, one of which always sits beside me at the dinner table looking for hand outs.

Violet is an artist. She has done Dolphins and Herons for Virginia Beach and Chesapeake,and, well, let me say her artistic talents are limitless. My words cannot do it justice. John makes reproduction duck decoys - Violet paints them.

By the way - John and Violet are looking for old, rusted horsehoes to use as weights on their decoys (authentic to history) - If you know of anywhere to find such, let me know.

I returned home shortly before Janet. I thought seriously about sleeping in Luv to make sure she didn't disappear over night, but Janet talked me out of it. Have faith, she said - Think positive.

Well, I am thinking positive, but I think I'll go down and make sure she is still therer.

Yup, she's still there, patiently waiting for me to load her up and hit the road.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots

I'm out looking for myself. If I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Since I've been staying with Janet, we've been experimenting with different breads.
We've made raisen, cinnamon bread, stromboli, pumpkin spice, buttermilk, jalapeno and cheese, and many more.

The other day, I decided to try an olive "Tapanade" bread. It called for olives, capers, anchovie, and garlic. Janet checked her frig, and showed me the capers and the garlic so all I had to pick up were the olives and anchovies.

Now, I've told you before - I am not a cook. I have never used capers in my life. I had them once on a salad my first born made, but I, myself, have never used them.

So, I gathered up my ingredients, and chopped merrily away. When I reached in the fridg for the capers, I had a little trouble finding them. Finally my hand grasped a bottle with little round green things in it. I proceeded to measure, chop and stir, and soon had all the ingredients incorporated and resting in the bucket.

As I was cleaning up, I picked the jar of "capers", and guess what??? I had put in pepperinos instead of capers!!!

But - as it turned out - it was a great mistake. Last night we had openfaced sandwiches of Tapanade bread, fried cheese, tomatoes, avacados and baby spinach.
It was delicious!!!!! The pepperinos added an intersting bite to the bread.
While I was trying to design the sandwich, I thought of Carol in Chico - she came up with many delicious open faced sandwiches while I was there.

I'm still trying to organize my photos, as soon as I accomplish that - I'll finish up my trip blogs.

Until next time
Bear Hugs
Luv 'N Boots

I'm out looking for myself. If I should return before I get back, ask me to wait.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Last report, I told you my computer was cleaned up and ready to go - well, it was cleaned up, but it took til a couple days ago to figure out what happened to my photos. When I moved them to the other drive, they ended up in two different directories. Should be an easy fix, but then the puter went insane. It's been "logging off" for the past 48 hours - nothing I have tried has worked.

So, right now, I'm at Holly's. She is weaving, and I'm playing on her computer.

Let's see. What have I done since I got back??? Well, went through the stuff in storage - Had one stacked 10x10x12 - then had two units stacked 10x10x6 - still couldn't get around all the stuff.

Went through and pulled out anything I could put in a yard sale - had the sale at Betsy's - a very successful sale!!!! I took 3 truck loads to Betsy's and left with 4-5 boxes of left overs which were dropped off at a thrift store on the way back to the storage unit. My girls are very happy to hear that I sold all my baskets!!!!

A couple days before the sale, I discovered "Soft Toppers" - for my pickup - The yard sale netted me just about enough to buy one.

Oh, yeah, you haven't yet heard about "Luv" Luv is a 2002 Dodge diesel, 3/4 ton pickup - with 8 foot bed. Madame has gone to a very caring home - someone who can really take good care of her, and is very happy to have her.

Any how, I want to get a Soft Topper for Luv - it will give me the versatility I need. I wanted to be able to use the cargo capacity of the pu bed - so I almost decided not to get a 5th wheel - but with the soft topper I can have the best of both worlds. Folds up when not in use!

When I first arrived in VA, I spent several days house sitting for Holly while she and Dave were out of town. I got to play "farmgirl" Twice a day, I had to feed two dogs, 3 cats, 4 geese, a flock of chickens and a school of fish. And then fall asleep up in the tree tops (2nd floor) of this beautiful log house, to absolute silence and total darkness. It was a wonderful experience.

I have and am still meeting up with friends - I'll be leaving here the 12th of November for New York, I have the trailer reserved, and also have reserved someone to help load all that stuff. I still have so much - but once I get to Angie's, my load will be much diminished. She's taking my two dressers, and the two trunks. The dressers are solid oak and, very,very heavy.

Course, I have to take responsibility for all the fabric I'm hauling up there. When I moved it from one unit to the other, I stacked it across the back - I had a stack of fabric 4' high x 3 ' wide, by 10' long. Isn't that ridiculous? Absolutely!!! I will have to be sewing non-stop for 6 months to make an appreciable dent in the stack. But, I'll do my best.

Angie called to tell (warn?) me that there will be 44 for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm really looking forward to it! I love crowds during the holidays.

I'm getting close to having only what I can carry in my rig. However, I am holding out on my personal Christmas decorations (all made by my Mother) and my brother's art work, and one not quite filled box of my "memories"

Well, Holly wants to go for a ride in Luv, so I'll close for now. More later

Until next time
Bear Hugs
Luv n'Boots

I'm out looking for myself. If I should return before I get back, ask me to wait.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm in Virginia Beach. My computer has been cleaned up and I think I have the photo problems fixed.

I'll catch up all my blogs in a few days!

Love, Boots

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This is the first time on the whole adventure that weather caused me to change
plans. TD16 is due to sweep up the coast tomorrow, so I'm leaving NY today. My only other choice would be to wait til Friday, and play in Friday afternoon traffic in the DC area.

I'll be back in VB Monday afternoon!

Until next time
Bear Hugs
I'm out looking for myself, If I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I'm back in New York, having brought daughter Angie, and granddaughter Kasey (3 yrs old) from Wisconsin.

I'm leaving Thursday a.m. for Virginia - will spend a few days visiting my other daughters on the way.

Still having problems with uploading photos. I moved all my photos to the other hard-drive - uploaded successfully 5 photos, and after that could not access the photos. So, I guess I'll pick Jackie's brain when I get back to VA in hopes of straightening all this out so I can finish catching up my blogs.

I'm looking forward to rummaging through my remaining belongings and having a yard sale to get rid of them all - or at least as many as I can.

Also, I'm very anxious to return to NY in November, and set up my sewing center and finish those 60 quilts I committed to making. Should have those all done before I leave in January, and I also will try to improve my bread making, and narrow down my candy making. Angie is trying to get me to market my soft toffee - like Almond Roca - but not brittle - more sugary - she says no one anywhere makes it that way - I only make it that way for my family cause as far as I know they are the only ones who like it that way. Well, we'll see.

Anyway, those of you in Virginia Beach - I look forward to seeing you all during October. The rest of you, well, I'm making the rounds of the country again next year - see you then!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

I'm out looking for myself. If I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Mackenzie Lila Marie Obey made her grand entrance in Wausau, WI at 4:40 a.m. on September 21, 2010. 8#9oz - 10 fingers 10 toes, perfect - and of course Beautiful!
Lots of brown curly hair Like her grandpa and great grandpa!!!

Mackenzie's official weigh-in

Mackenzie and Nene (Angie)

Proud Brother Kyler with MacKenzie and Mom - Raven

Kasey with Mackenzie and Mom - Raven

Momn Raven and MacKenzie

Until Next Time,
Bear Hugs
Proud Great Granny Boots

I'm out looking for myself. If I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Just to let you know I am alive and well.

I'm being held hostage in North Dakota by a newly met cousin, who has
been taking me out to visit other cousins, and we even found a cousin in my
line that brings in the Swedish Connection.

I'm leaving in the morning for Wausau WI - to keep waiting for the arrival of
my great grand-daughter. She was due days ago. I'm guessing she is waiting
for Granny to arrive.

Still have lots of posts to catch up, but have too weak a signal here to post

Promise I'll catch up soon.

Until Next Time,
Bear Hugs,

I'm out looking for myself. If I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm headed east tomorrow morning. I still have posts to make, but they will have to wait til I have time or opportunity. I just don't know when I next will have connection to the internet.

I'll be a week or so in the Wausau, WI area - but in a very small town - time will tell if I can get to a Starbucks or similar outlet.

So if you don't hear from me in the interim, I'll be in upstate NY on 9/26 and will try to catch everything up there.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs
I'm out looking for myself. If I return before I get back, Please ask me to wait!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I arrived at the KOA Kampground Thursday afternoon in time to
Check in. I remarked to the Camp Host that the weather forecast
all week had said we’d have rain that day and I was very happy to
see that they were wrong.

I then drove around the campground to find my site - and, wouldn’t
You know it – as soon as I turned off the ignition, it started pouring
I just sat there dumbfounded! It turned out to just be a sun shower
Which ended quite quickly. I sat in my car contemplating my navel
For about 20 minutes then hopped out and hurriedly put the tent
Up. As usual, I didn’t stake out the fly cause it’s so hard for me to get
Through. (That won’t happen again)

I then went looking for the cousins. The arrived shortly after I did, and
We sat around talking for awhile, until it started to rain again. I sought
Shelter in their camp. (Much to my chagrin) When I finally returned
To my tent, the whole entry area was soaked, with a small lake flowing
Under the floor of my tent. That’s not a problem because I have a
“bathtub” bottom in the tent – no seams to leak! But I still had to slosh
Through the puddles on the tarp. I swept the water away the best I could,
But – I still had to wade through gumbo anywhere I went in the campground.

If you don’t know what gumbo is – Lucky You!

I was just settling in for an early night when Gary called to say he had
Arrived in town and to tell me where he was staying.

The first official reunion function was to be dinner on Friday nite in
The kitchen pavilion.

It continued to rain all day Friday. At the very last possible moment, Cousin
Sharon’s son, Rick got permission for us to have dinner at the Great Falls
Trap and Skeet club facility. Then it was a scramble to notify everyone.

I managed to get a hold of my niece, Nicki, to tell her of the change – but
I couldn’t contact Gary - I left messages on his cell phone, and at his hotel.
No luck. (I was to learn later he had driven north just enjoying the country
Side – and didn’t return to his hotel until midnite)

The “Meet and Greet” at the club house was a well attended and noisy affair,
As it should be. At least 4 generations were present and accounted for.
Sharon had printed up a family tree starting with my great-grandparents, complete
With photos.

While staying over night in Helena on the way to Great
Falls, I made a banner for the reunion. Somehow it got mis-placed, and
Didn’t make it to the Friday night dinner.

The food, of course was delicious. We had ham and potato salad chips
And dessert. Naturally there was dessert – huckleberry crisp, and a Coca-
Cola cake – m-m-m- More ##s to account for.

Cousins Sharon and Terry had the most family members there, but I was
Not alone – my niece, Nicki came to stand in for her generation. It was
Great seeing her. I met so many of the younger generations my head was

As we left the clubhouse – there was a rainbow in the sky. In fact, I’ve seen
Several rainbows since I’ve been here.

Sharon’s son, Denny Dorr was our professional photographer for the weekend.
Please check out his website at Digital Montana Photography – or if you are on facebook Search on it - He has awesome photography. One of his projects – the ballerina project, Places ballerinas out in nature – so cool!

As we were driving back to the campground, I watched a towering thunder cloud get
Closer and closer – hoping to get there in time to get a good photo of it, but it was directly Over the campground, so I couldn’t a shot at the top of it. Surprisingly, it didn’t dump any Rain – just moved out across the prairie.

Saturday noon – we all met in the kitchen pavilion for burgers and hot dogs, and more desserts. Strawberry/rhubarb pie this time!

And before we were ready, it was time for supper. This time, Sharon’s son, Rick made pulled Pork and cowboy beans. We also had Rhubarb punch – delicious.

Chow Time

We hung around visiting, telling stories, catching up and having photos taken by Denny And by each other.

The second Cousins

Cousin Terry's Group

Cousin Sharon's Group

Cousin Diane's Group

We set a date for the next reunion –the weekend of July 20, 2012.

The youngest attendees were 8 ½ month old twins – the oldest was, well let’s not
Go there!

It was a wonderful weekend – two short by far – too much catching up to do. I am
Very happy to have caught up with the cousins. It’s been far too long. I hope by the next reunion, I hope some of my kids, grandwidgets and great grands can attend.

Sunday morning, the KOA campers departed. Sandy and Gregg back to Florida,
Judy and Tom, and Ron and Linda were headed to Judy and Tom’s place on the
River – Donna was headed back to Kalispell. I set out for cousin Diane’s home
In Belt – about 20 miles away.

For a time on this trip that was the only date I had to think about. But somewhere
Along the way I picked up another date – the middle of September, in Wausau, WI, to
Await the birth of my newest great grandwidget.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

“I’ve gone to look for myself. If I return before I get back, Please ask
Me to wait.”


Rocky Mountain Front – seen across Nylan Resavoir.

Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have for the weekend – next photo I tried to take – the batteries needed replacing.

The early morning view did not bode well for the day - it was so foggy, we could barely see the little town, Belt, at the bottom of the hill.

Diane cooked the day before – Chili, and lemon bars, and brownies – This morning, I baked up two loaves of bread I mixed up last night, and whipped up a batch of blueberry Scones. (Sherri, they are so delicious)

I waited for Diane to return from church, and for her daughter Shelly to arrive from Bozeman so we can leave for the cabin.

Fall is definitely in the air – the high today and tomorrow will be in the 60’s – time to put away the shorts and tank tops, and bring out the jeans and sweatshirts.

We finally headed out – right toward a very stormy looking area – luckily for us, we drove right through the storm, and on toward Benchmark – where it looked like there hadn’t been any rain in days.

We drove across the prairie, through the foothills, and right into the Rocky Mountains. It was about a 100 mile drive from Belt. The Rocky Mountain Front is so breathtaking. I just can’t get enough of it.

40 or so miles was on a gravel road. Dusty, Dusty. But we still managed to roll down the windows and breath in some of that fresh mountain air when other traffic was not present.

We arrived at the cabin, took down the bear screens, the wooden window covers, turned on the water in the springhouse generally made ready for our time there.

It is an old hunting cabin built in 1935. It’s basically, a large one room cabin with partial walls separating the kitchen and dining area from sleeping area. It has a deep front porch, and a low roof. There is a wood cook stove in the kitchen, and a wood burning heating stove in the sleeping room.

Shelley is a real Mountain Woman. She immediately jumped in with a broom, then started fires in both stoves, and even went out and chopped more wood. It took awhile for the logs to warm up, but by dark we were quite cozy.

Now, realize this – no electricity, no internet, no electric lighting, no running water. It was heavenly!!!!

All that food we brought – for just three women. Well enough if we were hiking some of the trails in the area (the cabin is at an elevation of approx 5700’, and it goes up from there.) Lots of cliff faced mountains. Snow was predicted at the
6000' level, but, hey, we had 300 feet to spare!

It turned out to be a very relaxing inactive couple of days. We all grabbed books, curled up in the blankets and read.

The most activity was Shelley keeping the fires going, and taking short walks with her dog, then back to the books.

The first nite, we went to bed with the sun, well we had too – there were no lanterns there, and all the candles were mere nubs. That was about 7:15 when we settled down for the nite. I had my headlamp for reading - but I hadn’t counted on the bugs, millers, and they kept dive-bombing into my face. Very annoying.

We woke up at about 8 a.m.!!!! Had breakfast cooked on the wood stove, and once again settled in with our books. Continued this all day, and through that night. At one point, I caught a movement out the window – it was a large doe. It looked so close – walking just outside the windows. It took a bit for me to realize the difference from other deer I’d been seeing. I was used to seeing the smaller white-tailed deer. This was a large mule deer, fat and sassy

Woke up Tuesday morning,and started packing up for the ride home.

Once again, the beauty of this area is overpowering. It doesn’t matter that my camera was dead, photos cannot do it justice – it has to be seen in person to be appreciated!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

I’m out looking for myself, if I return before I get back, Please ask me to wait!

Saturday, September 4, 2010



Big Belt Mountains

I drove on the old road to Helena, through Wolf Creek Canyon. My, that brings back memories.

I remember as a young mother, parking along the side of the road where the Deerborn river joins the Missouri with my Sister-in-Law and all our children while our husband’s floated down the Deerborn. We were elaborately warned to make sure we were there when they arrived, and not to wander off anywhere – as they would be there in a couple hours. NOT! The river was so low, they had to carry the rubber raft (a big one) most of the way down the river – took them about 12 hours.

the Mighty Missouri
The canyon has always been a beautiful drive. The Missouri gently flows along, and is a very popular fishing area.

Guardian of the Gates of the Mountains

Gates of the Mountains

Bear Tooth Mountain

Barb and I met when we were nine years old. Her grandmother lived just up the road from my home. She and Mike- who lived between our homes – and I became fast friends – We were constant companions - eventually Margie became a part of the group too.

We had not seen each other since before I left Great Falls in 1973 – but it was like we’d visited just last week - a true life time friendship. I am blessed to have so many friends like that.

We had planned to go to Washington for the week – but Barb’s dog, Della injured her leg and had to be kept quiet while it healed so we had to stay in Helena.

I planned to visit the Historical Society, the Governor’s mansion, Last Chance Gulch, and the rest of the historic area, Drive to Marysville, an old mining town, take a boat trip through Gates of the Mountains, visit a hot springs, dig for Sapphires, and so on while in Helena.

Barb had other ideas. The night I got back there, she bought a sewing machine, and I finished all her projects the day before I left. She has a fichus tree in the living room about where I set up the sewing machine. By the time I left, it would hang over my shoulder – I told her I’d been sitting there so long the tree was growing around me.

I made a dog bed, covers for the sofa on the front porch, helped her decorate a straw hat for her bedroom, and made a cover and table pad for her sewing machine and, altered several pair of pants and blouses.

For myself, I made two baby blankets for the soon to arrive Emma, and a pair of walking shorts

Then I hit the kitchen - Check out the size of this zucchini from her garden. It made 6 batches of lemon-ginger zucchini bread. She also had been hoarding bananas in her freezer – enough for 6 batches of banana bread. Then I made two cakes for her son’s birthday – a Coca-cola cake (chocolate) and a spice cake.


I also made another batch of blueberry scones – thanks so much, Sherrie, for the wonderful recipe!!!

I love working in her kitchen – big enough island, and all the toys I ever had or wanted. It was such fun!

Wow, when I list it out, it doesn’t seem like much, but it kept me busy for the whole week – with frequent interruptions.

We did find time to drive to Missoula and tour the farmer’s market. It’s quite a large one – spread over down town. After that – we started out for somewhere, and got way-laid by some garage sales – what fun! Before leaving town, we stopped at “Good Foods” a large, non-profit organic food store. Really neat

Sign in Drummond, MT

During one of the interruptions of my project work, Barb told me she had a “compromising” photo of me, and that it was in this big box of photos. Well – naturally, I dug clear to the bottom but didn’t find the photo - I think she just wanted me to look at all her photos. (Actually, I know what photo she is talking about, and I want it back!!!)

When we were kids, we were both horse crazy. We used to play at being horses in a sand pile - we took juice cans, and crushed one side of the rim, so we could make hoof prints in the sand.

She had a horse before I did – and had a friend who would rent out his horse for 25 cents an hour.

I remember the day we spent at the Ayershire Dairy. We spent hours wandering around the facility - playing on the bucking barrel, all the free chocolate milk we could drink, the wonderful soft ice chips. Can you imagine A)leaving your kids alone all day like that – or B) the dairy allowing these 2 kids to wander around under foot for an entire day?

Before I had a horse, I often rode to her house on my bike - probably a 12 – 15 mile trip each way. Sometimes twice in a day.

I remember one time we were riding horses, and a serious storm blew up. We got soaked. We were still 5 miles from my house when we road through a parking lot where two dump trucks were parked. One of the drivers shouted out the window that we were welcome to sit in the cab of the other truck - We were totally soaked, but that’s what we did – holding the horses’ reigns out the window.

As a teenager, Barb found a baby skunk in the woods. She brought it home in a saddle bag, then took it to a vet – Dr. Dorn. We became his fan club. We went on ranch calls with him, stayed at his cabin at logging creek with his family and generally made pests of ourselves.

I remember one ranch call. After doctoring a cow, the owner asked him to check out a cow that had died. We found the remains and he cut into the cow, and she exploded – sprayed all over him. At that time, I was about 13 years old – didn’t really know how to drive, but I had to drive back to the ranch house, and he had to walk until he could get to a shower and change clothes.

I checked into digging for Sapphires - $50 a bag, plus $10 more to dig in the field.
Myra’s paying $7 per day to dig in diamond field in Ark – and found 6 diamonds – sold 3 of them for $300. The last one she found was flawless – Don’t know whether she’ll keep that one or not.

Della is a Labrodoodle – more doodle than lab. She is quick to learn – At the word “Bang”, she rolls over and plays dead. She also rolls over, is learning to crawl, gives a “high five” when asked. She’s been trained not to bark unless absolutely necessary. She waits quietly about 5 foot from her food bowl until told it is ok to eat. But the most fascinating is her toilet training – when she has to pee – she goes on the other side of the driveway – for other business, she runs to the end of the ditch along the road!!!! How convenient for Barb.

Give me Five!

There was a controlled burn on Stemple pass that got out of control – grew from 135 acres to over 1000 in just a few hours – the wind was fierce that day. We could see the Forest Service planes overhead carrying retardant to the fire zone.

It’s hard to see on this photo – but there is smoke curling up under the bright white clouds.

What a strange sight in the evening sky.

Full Moon

Ken – how about these old cars??

Sorted all my stuff, and left behind 3 large totes and a duffle bag and my bicycle – but Barb kept giving me things, that I have to leave in her garage until next year. (Have to make room for Angie and Kaycee)

Barb’s garden

Barb’s House

Visited quilt stores, but was good – except for 1/3 yard of chicken fabric for Sherrie – Sherrie – do you want me to send you the fabric, or send the completed project?

Interesting gate way

I bought my horse, Gazeon - from Barb – a ¾ Arab with a great personality – the reason I bought him – I was having back problems - I was riding him one day, we came to a stream, and he sort of did a buck/jump – and my back whipped back into place.

Another Gazeon story was that I was riding by the house one day and heard the phone ringing – at that time, I just couldn’t let a phone go unanswered – no caller ID in those days – I ran in and answered the phone, and a couple minutes later heard a clumping sound, turned around, and there was Gazeon standing in my kitchen. I had to lead him into the living room to have enough room to turn him around and head him out the door!

The last two nights I slept on the sofa on the front porch – first night was great – 2nd night – it was very cold, but I was warm and cozy.

I drove back to Missoula and spent a day visiting with my nephew, Jim, and his family.

It was only a 124 mile drive - but before I'd gone 40 miles, I got so sleepy I had to pull over and take a nap. When I woke up, I was hungry - really hungry, and I hadn't brought any food with me. Fortunately, at the next rest stop, there was a group of high schoolers selling hot dogs, polish sausages, donuts, coffee, tea, soda, and candy bars. I settled for the polish sausage and coffe - to see if it would wake me up a little.

It was fun talking about family stuff and trying to remember things his Dad did as a youngster. They have a beautiful home – decorated by Shelly – she should be a professional decorator – it’s that wonderful. The last time I was there, the twins were toddlers - now they are more than half grown.

If this sounds rambling and disjointed, it is!!! I just had so much to say, and no time to properly organize my thoughts.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

I’ve gone to look for myself. If I return before I get back, Please ask me to wait!

Friday, September 3, 2010


On my way from Helena to Great Falls, I stopped at the First Peoples Buffalo Jump.

Interpretive center with jump in background

The ranger gave a very interesting talk. This site is believed to be over 900 years old. And, with “wings” over a mile long on each side making it probably the biggest in the world. 14 different tribes used this site. Not many of them were on friendly terms, however if a tribe was in place using the jump, a newly arrived tribe would either back off, or negotiate working with the first tribe. It was considered a sacred site, and no fighting among the tribes ever occurred there.

When my brothers were teenagers, they would ride their bikes out here to look for arrowheads. At that time, it was known as the Ulm Pishkin.

During WWII the family owning the site dug up 155 tons of bones to be used in munitions manufacturing. Decades later, archeologists started digging in the area and discovered – even after the removal of the 155 tons, the bone pile still went down another 13 feet.

Back in the day – “before Contact” there were estimated to be 60 million bison roaming the whole continent - West to East coast - Northern Canada – down into Mexico. The only place they didn’t roam was the desert lands of the Southwest.

I drove around the Butte, and to the parking lot at the top. The Ranger had warned me about rattlesnakes. Not my favorite critters, snakes. So – I carried my “bear bell” with me and kept it jingling all the time I was wandering around the top of the cliffs. I like to think it kept me from any unwelcome encounters.

I took photos of the cliff face, and also wonderful shots of Square Butte. Lewis and Clark had a special name for Square Butte, (which I’ve forgotten), and because of it’s massive size, used it as a beacon on their return from the coast – it could be seen for miles and miles.

I call it my welcome Home sign, because whenever I see it, I know I’m truly home.

This is a view across the prairie to the Highwood Mountains – which are between 50-60 miles distant.

Little Belt Mountains

The wonderful vast prairie