Lake Koocanusa

WEB 8-4-13 boys at lake koocanusaWe went on a family boondoggle today to Lake Koocanusa, which is west of Eureka. It’s a big lake, with a sweet long-span bridge over it. Big Country is obsessed with bridges (who am I kidding, I think they’re awesome too!). It was nice and cool out on the bridge, and breezy!

Boys at lake koocanusa 3Though sometimes I feel like all I do is chase Peanut around these days now that he’s walking, I also really enjoy that he is. We can walk out on bridges together, for one thing. His increased mobility has certainly opened up more of the world to him, and he likes to explore and see new things. And I’m sure we’ll look back on this photo in fifteen years or so when Peanut is taller than Big Country and have a nice time reminiscing over our little walk out onto the bridge.

Lake koocanusa bridgeWe’re all on a bridge going somewhere, aren’t we? The trick is to enjoy the crossing as much as anticipating what’s on the other side!

 

 

 

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Walking in the woods

Avalanche creek waterfallWhen my mom and sister were here for a visit a few weeks ago we spent some time one day going for a stroll in Glacier. My sister, poor thing, busted her tailbone snowboarding so we stuck to a very gentle trail for her sake. Trail of the Cedars is a boardwalk through a very old cedar grove. Some of the cedars are more than 500 years old! Avalanche Creek runs through it all, and comes down the ravine in twists and turns around the stone. In this photo the creek is actually about as low as I’ve seen it. This photo was taken before the melt really started.

Girls in the cedarsHere’s my mom (left), yours truly (middle), and my sister (right) at the overlook of the waterfall. Family resemblance?

Boys trail of the cedarsAnd here are my boys in the same spot. What lovely boys they are, too.

Feeding park employeesSomebody let a prankster loose with a permanent marker on the trail, and that person had all sorts of funny things to say (including ridiculous bovine-themed haikus). This is one example.

Pathway through the woodsIt’s a very easy trail, but a very beautiful one too. I love the hush of cedar grove, the humidity those trees create beneath their canopies, the sound of birdsong from branches distant.

 

 

 

 

Laughter

Cat backIt’s been a crazy time for my family and me lately. Opening a business is no joke, folks, and between that and a sick kiddo sleep is a fond and distant memory. However! There must still be laughter even when the stress piles up and the number of hours I spend in bed at night dwindles. There must always be laughter. (And cats.)

He just takes the tractor another round…

I’m working on an article for my newspaper about wheat prices. The drought and severe fires in Russia (affecting the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, also big wheat exporters) have driven the cost of the wheat commodity up about $1.50. Still not enough. But it’s something.

Spent several hours last night riding in a local farmer’s combine, learning about wheat and the business of farming in Big Sky Country. I’m a city girl, born and raised. My fiancé is a rancher’s son. I think we’ll end up somewhere on a farm someday (that’s the dream), so I’ve got a lot of making up to do. I learned that wheat kernels must be a dark amber color. If they’re white-ish, they’re too wet and not fully matured. The farmers around here are struggling with too much moisture — too much protein — which hurts the value of the crop. In “traditional” farming, everything must be the same. All the calves must look the same. All wheat kernels must be amber. Amber waves of grain, if you will. I think that’s one thing the organic industry has going for it. If there’s some variation, that’s OK, because that’s normal.

Something else I just loved about the evening: When I pulled up to the field where the farmer and hands were harvesting, farmer’s wife was there with their five kiddos. Farmer’s mother was there, and farmer’s father-in-law. All were gathered around the family SUV, eating dinner and enjoying huckleberry crumble. Delicious! Farmer’s oldest son knew everything, and I mean everything, about the combine I was going for a ride in. Darling. Youngest son was just a babe in arms, looking quizzically about. Daughters looked at me with shy smiles. A slice of quintessential Americana.

There was a storm moving in that later lit the night with jagged streaks of lightning (there’s been a number of fires reported after last night, but they’re little — for now). Hence the dark, heavy clouds behind the combine and tractor. It was Nebraska windy. I think I’ll be picking wheat chaff out of my ears for days. But oh, it was fun!