Our Lady of the Blue Highways

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

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I can’t believe it is September 1 already – where has the summer gone?   One thing I know for sure, I’m way behind in my posts.   I’m currently back in Belt, MT at my Cousin Diane’s.   We are planning on 3 road/camping trips the second half of the month.  But,  I’ll wait to tell you about them later.

I guess I’ll just give you an overview of the past 6 weeks or so –

I left Barb’s in Helena and hit the road to Kalispell 203 miles away.   At the tiny town of Avon, an intersection where I changed roads, I saw a sign for a quilt shop and quickly made a U-turn – I’m not sure, but I think it is the only open business in town.  Quaintly set up in an old – 1800’s old mercantile building with a great selection of fabric at an even greater price!   I found the perfect fabric for Brooke’s Christmas placemats – and it was the only fabric I bought!  What control, what discipline!  

The trip up the Swan Valley was beautiful, as always – but I think next time I’ll take one of the roads that skirt Flathead Lake.    

In Kalispell, we went to the farmer’s market – it was smaller than I thought it would be – but easily navigated.   During one of our visits, my cousin, Judy bought an apron made out of the top of a pair of bib overalls – interesting!    I bought a pendant – a polished stone with a Grizzly paw print engraved on it.   What is this thing I have with bears?

One Friday afternoon, we went to the farmer’s market in West Glacier, enjoyed some homemade ice cream and then drove into the park a little ways  I took photos of Lake MacDonald – beautiful as always.  

I was there for the first of the Flathead Cherries!  Delicious.  Rich and dark and juicy.  They even had some of my favorite Ranier cherries – so very sweet, so very good.    Judy ordered a flat of pie cherries and we spent one afternoon pitting and preparing, and Judy baked a pie.   Cherry, of course.   One early morning we picked raspberries – again, very tasty!   Huckleberries were ripe, but since you have to go out into the woods and fight the bears for them, we decided not to go.

In between such excursions, Judy was working on a quilt – a double wedding ring for those who know such things!   Something I would never have considered doing – mess around with those tiny pieces of fabric, not for me.   But she was doing it by paper piecing – which I’d heard about but didn’t know what it was – Wow!  What an eye opener!    I want to do that!

Tucker came into his voice while there -   Judy and Tom’s place is fenced with hog wire to keep the deer out – put in up-side down so the smaller critters could get in and out easily.    One day, Tom came home to find a doe placidly eating his petunias!    He chased her out and closed the gate.   (Something like closing the barn………….)     Later that day,  I took Tucker out the basement door, and as I looked up at the deck, I spied 2 fawns standing just below it.   I eased back into the house, and went up and told Tom he had missed something!   I guess we made too much racket – the fawns took off for the ravine (still within the fenced yard)   A couple days later, Tom came home to find the doe lying under the apple tree in the front yard – the fawns were standing in front of the garage.    He started easing the doe toward the gate – I saw from the window that she was going to head around the side of the house – so, after admonishing Tucker to “Stay”, I slipped out the door, barefoot – but Tucker had caught sight of Tom, his new best friend – and squeezed out with me.   He took off barking at Tom – not even seeing the doe at first.  But, the Doe saw him, and she didn’t like what she saw, and started after him – at that point, Tom started waving his arms, Tucker spotted the doe, and went after her in full cry!   One of the fawns took off with the doe, the other headed for the ravine.    So, my hero, Tucker came back from the gate quite proud of himself, and was praised for his success – so that was the day he really found his voice, ……. And got praised for it!  So now, he feels he is my great protector and barks at anything and everything!  

 Anyway, Tom found the break in the fence where the doe was getting in and fixed it – we never saw the doe or the 2nd fawn again – Tom said the larger holes in the fencing would allow it to get out – so I’m sure “mama” worked around the fence to where her baby was and convinced it to crawl through.   Otherwise, I’m sure the doe would have been haunting the fence line!

 (I just heard Diane laughing heartily – I went to see what was going on -   Tucker had been sitting next to the screen door, enjoying the sun when the door slammed shut capturing him between the two doors.  He looked so confused!)

Back to Kalispell - On a bright, warm (too warm) Saturday, cousin Donna and I headed up the road about 100 miles to Eureka, Montana – 8 miles from the Canadian border for an outdoor quilt show.   It was wonderful   They have a park where they have moved in old buildings from the town’s history – the buildings were all hung with quilts!   On the outside!!!!   I took lots of photos, but then, well, you know my problem with photos!    We walked  all around the park – it was perfect – lots of huge trees providing lots of shade and plenty of places to sit.  Saw many, many beautiful quilts.  Then it was time for a quick lunch and a visit to the vendors. 

 On one of the tent walls there was a northwoods type quilt – I got so excited!   It was perfect for the quilt I’m making for Angie -  And of course, I was so excited about it I forgot to take a photo of it!   But I did go in and buy some really great appliqué patterns.

Then on to Bigfork Bay Quilts – They have the most amazing appliqué patterns – I didn’t buy any, but got a card so I could order on line, once I decide which ones I want.   

When we left the park, we drove through town – all of the buildings on the main street were hung with quilts!   I saw one in particular that I wish I could have gotten a closer view of – it had squares of Russian nesting dolls on it.

It was then time to leave Kalispell, and I chose to take Highway 2 which skirts Glacier Park.  It was a beautiful ride.  I crossed the Marias Pass which is the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide in Montana at about 5200’ – immediately I began the descent toward East Glacier, by the time I got there – about 20 miles  - I was back to prairie.   Well, prairie to the east – and the beautiful east face of the Rockies marching on my left – leading me to my destination.

Another note about my camping trip to Logging Creek:   Diane stayed with me for Friday night, and had to leave Saturday evening because of other obligations.   Carol and Ken arrived a couple hours after she left.  They were supposed to bring ice – which they forgot.   Sunday morning, after breakfast, I headed up the 13 mile road to Monarch – hoping to find ice.   Diane had told me it was a bad, bad road.   And it was – 4 miles of it at least.   It was twisty, turny, narrow, bumpy – but luckily whenever I met another vehicle, I was on the mountain side of the road.   I found ice, and returned to camp.   When I got there, my niece Nicki and her family were there.  We sat around the table for a bit while I told stories of my brother’s growing up years – some of which Nicki hadn’t even heard.  Then it was time to scatter his ashes. 

 When Carol had arrived at the campground, she commented that it looked just like California and was not at all where she wanted to leave the ashes – she wanted some where you could look out over the country.   Well, on my way to Monarch for ice, I found a perfect place!   In the middle of the 4 miles of climbing up the mountainside was a look-out spot with parking area overlooking miles and miles of mountains, and a far mountain meadow.   So we said our final goodbyes to Jim, father, husband, brother, son – I still miss him so much!

Since returning from Logging Creek, we’ve made two trips to Diane’s Cabin – once they re-opened the road -   Oh, yeah – I had talked Carol out of hiking into Pretty Prairie with the ashes – then about a week later, I called her to say there was a fire in that area, then a week or so later – to tell her that Benchmark (where the trailhead is) was evacuated and closed.  So it was a good thing we went to plan B.    Anyway – once the road was re-opened we went up to the cabin.  Diane’s son, Mark, has a construction job in the small town of Augusta about 30 miles from the cabin and he is living there while working in Augusta.  We decided the cabin needed new curtains, admired the work Mark has done on the cabin, and immediately grabbed books from the “library” and settled down to read.   On our second trip to take up the new curtains, Diane’s daughter Shelley was with us, and when we got there, Diane’s other son, David, was there – so it was a family reunion for Diane.   Once again, to the “Library” -  I noticed that Mark and David were readers, too -   when they left to go fishing, Mark had a book in his hand, and David had one in his pocket.   I think people who read are great!

Well, now I think I’m pretty well caught up to date on my posts.

 Until next time,
Luv ‘n Boots & Tucker, Too
And don’t forget little Bear!

She believed she could do it and so she did!




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