Our Lady of the Blue Highways

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

Friday, May 27, 2016


Just Wow!!!  I have arrived at my post  at North Dickey Lake Campground.
near Eureka, MT.  

I was met 2-3 minutes after stopping by swarms of handsome young men - the Trail Boss and crew.   They delivered a pickup load of cut wood for my site.  Soon others arrive.  I’ll never be able to put names and faces together.  Then Traci arrived - she works in the Ranger Station.  She backed in the rig, and along with Lyle went over my duties.  

The conversations was sprinkled with comments like, “but don’t worry about that now”,  “but you’ll have help here then”,   “later he’ll pass that job on to you, when you are ready for it”.    “If you feel like it”

I gather that my main  duties are to smile, be friendly and make sure there is toilet papers in the outhouses.  I’m going to love it here!

Tucker was heartily welcomed, and of course he loved it.

Now, let me tell you about the campground.   It’s small - only 26 sites, on a forested hill overlooking a beautiful, blue, serene lake.  There is a boat dock at the bottom of the hill.   I’ll check that out first thing this morning.

 Photo   I am so glad that I didn’t designate a specific location to work - other than the Kootenai (and I think the Bitterroot) forests.   I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful site.

 I’ve been to Eureka one day for the quilt show about 4 years ago.  That was a unique experience.  There is a “Pioneer” park in this little town where they have collected old barns, cabins and other buildings as well as equipment and odd bits and pieces, and on the Quilt show weekend - quilts are hung on and inside the barns, as well as on buildings going up mains street.

Time to shake Tucker out of bed - it’s 7:30, and he’s still curled up snug as a bug in a rug.

I’ll continue this later, and post when I get to town.  I’ve got to finish setting up this morning - set the stabilizing jacks, figure out how to get into the sewer hook-up.
Huge Surprise!!!  As Camp Host, the local cable company provides me FREE internet.   And, it’s an excellent connection.   I may re-subscribe to CBS All-access!!!   I want to see this whole year of NCIS.   I’ll also have no excuse for not keeping up my blog.

My refrigerator isn’t working - and I’ve had to throw out everything that had to be kept cold.   All my meat, all the spaghetti sauce I had made up and packaged.  

One evening a camper stopped by to see if I wanted some company.  (I need to find my extra cups so I can at least offer a cup of tea!)  The next day - in the rain - she sent over her husband to look at my refrigerator - we flipped it over to gas operation, and he lit the water heater as well.  I’m in civilization!  Showers!  Ice Cream ! Whenever I want!   Yippee.

It’s Sunday - on a Canadian national holiday - and the campground is empty.   All the campers have left - and there is only one boat at the dock.   So quiet.  Let‘s see how this all lasts.  

Well, here I am - procrastinating as usual.  It’s been a week and I need to get this posted.

This week was quiet - I found the nearest post office, went to town and bought groceries (ouch!) - but then discovered the other grocery store - it will work very, very well.

I attended a course, and I’m now certified in first aid and CPR.  I haven’t needed the training in the first half of my life - let’s hope I don’t need it in the next half, but at least I know something about it.

I met the other camp hosts in this area  - they’ve all been at it for decades, most in the same campground.  I have a lot to learn from them.

Tucker and I were up fighting the newly resident rat in the middle of the night..  Yes, another one.  I’ve been promised a live trap to get rid of it.  I’ll bait it with one of my caramels - which seems to be what it likes!!!!

I’m still not through dealing with the results of the visit from the Belt rat.  And, no they are not the same rat - this one just showed up 3-4 days ago.  I still have to get the A/C fixed in the truck and repair the insulation  on the firewall so hot air is not blowing at me while traveling.

Yesterday, I got ready to do my rounds and told Tucker it was time to go to work.  I got lost in my thoughts, and all of a sudden, Tucker stopped dead in his tracks and planted his butt on the ground and refused to go on.  I looked around, and saw that I was about to pass the first toilet.  Tucker knows!!!  As soon as I checked it out, he moved on cheerily.

It’s Friday of Memorial Weekend, and…. It is raining, of course.  But, as always, a very gentle rain - nice to walk in.   The nearby mountain peaks are shrouded in fog, but there are already half a dozen boaters out on the lake.

Last weekend was a national holiday for the Canadians - we had in 3 groups of Montana Campers.  This is Memorial Day, and so far, the sites are filled with Canadians, and a couple from Germany who are spending 6 months touring North America.  -   Even their RV is German made and licensed in Germany.  Interesting.

Well - the rain just chased out the tent campers.  Or, maybe they were just staying the night.

I’m going to crank up the heaters and make it toasty warm in here - and I think oatmeal would be the perfect breakfast.

Until next time,
Boots, and of course, Tucker

“She believed she could do it and so she did!”




Sunday, May 8, 2016

Long, lazy days of Winter (and spring, too)

January through May 8, 2016

This is another post of meandering thoughts -

The first good news item:   My new(er) trailer has a name:   Sam Joe Bean.
If you’ve never heard of him, well, that doesn’t surprise me.   Sam Joe Bean was my brother’s alter-ego.  He wrote stories and poems about Sam.   He even wrote an eulogy for Sam, which became my brother’s eulogy.  Sam had lots of adventures; perhaps, later on, I can share a couple on this blog for your entertainment.

Second good news item:   I just received an e-mail from the Forest Service asking if I am still interested in camp hosting.  You betcha I am.   They have some openings near Eureka, MT -  which is a hop and a skip from the Canadian border.   Now, I’ll be on pins and needles waiting for my next communication.

I’ve been working the past few months on a western theme quilt for Brooke.   I decided to make it a quilt as you go project.  Mistake.  Big mistake.   I don’t know what started the fiasco, probably I didn’t measure carefully enough, but the thing is really wacky.   I tried correcting it before putting the rows together, but I guess once again, I didn’t measure properly.   I was in a rush, trying to finish by Christmas - no such luck.

In any event, I spent this whole week putting the rows together - took 4 days.   Each row, pinned, stitched, pinned,  stitched together,  pressed, top stitched, then top stitched on the other side.  Took over an hour for each row.  And today?  Well, today I am unstitching it all.   What a travesty.  It’s an oversized queen sized quilt - and hard to maneuver on the sewing machine - even as a quilt as you go.

January is gone - can spring be far away?

Have confirmation from the Forest Service - I will be hosting a campground near Eureka, Montana.  North Dickey Lake - 26 sites from Mid May to Mid September.  I am so excited.

May 8, 2016

Obviously, the above was written sometime in February, 2016.   A bit of time has passed since then.

Let’s see…..   I decided I’d move up to Brooke’s about the end of February for the remainder of the winter.   About the middle of February, I was invited by a friend to help with costuming for a production put on by the UGF Music Department.   I have to tell you, I had more fun in those couple of months than I could have imagined - then dress rehersals began, followed quickly by Opening night…. Still more fun - even Mother Nature got in the act by reminding us it was still officially winter by dropping 6 inches of wet sticky white stuff on us - causing me to be snow bound in Great Falls, since I had spent the night there instead of driving home so late.   I had my jacket with me, but was wearing flip-flops, so I had to go buy a pair of shoes.

Finally, Sam was ready to go, and on the third pick-up load to Thompson Falls, Sam went along, too.  Everything appears to work - keep your fingers crossed for me.

The first day at Brooke’s, she got me up on a horse - amazing  - it’s been how many years?????   Far too many - and if there had been a photographer nearby, you’all would have been giggling for a week watching me get in the saddle.  

Sadly, my cousin, Diane, passed away that night.  I know that she is finally at peace and will be missed by many.

It is definitely Spring Time in the Rockies - beautiful weather, colorful skies, birds singing - wonderful day for Mother’s Day.   Brooke surprised me with crepes for breakfast - delicious.

I’ll be leaving here on Monday, May 16 - headed for Eureka to start my summer duties at North Dickey Lake.

I’ve promised more than one person that I will once again start posting on a regular basis.   All depends on the availability of the internet - hope it won’t be like it was in Deming last year.

Until next time,

Boots & Tucker

She believed she could do it, so she did.