Unusual bouquets

I like roses as much as the next girl. Lilies, too. And sunflowers. Sunflowers were the main flower in my wedding bouquet. But the traditional flowers you can buy at the florist aren’t the only flowers you can use for beautiful bouquets. I’ve been enjoying some more wild-looking, nontraditional blooms lately. Before we turned the buckwheat under, I picked some of the stems for their lovely white flowers. I’ve added some stems from my flowering dill and cilantro plants, too.

Isn’t this bouquet lovely? And it smells great, too! Like dill and cilantro. Can’t decide if I want some pickles or some Mexican food when I take a whiff of it.


Dill is part of the Umbelliferae family. This name describes the way the flower grow. Their umbrella-like blooms are called umbels. Carrots are also part of this family.

Isn’t it pretty on the windowsill? And hey, there’s our first two tomatoes! Those two are about to be lunch!



Whiskey rain, whiskey rain

Saturday night, the Hubs and I went up to our local distillery, Glacier Distilling Company. It’s our friend Nic’s venture and not only do we want to support him, we like drinking good whiskey. And “Glacier Dew,” the distillery’s first whiskey, is just that.

Here’s the whiskey barn in Coram. You can’t miss it!

I wrote a story for my newspaper, which you can read here, a while back before the distillery officially opened for business. Nic and his business partner Danny are going to distill not only white whiskey like Glacier Dew, which is obviously polished off in the above photo, but also bourbon. They’ve got a neat selection sitting in barrels in the back, just waiting to come into maturity. It’s a long wait, but it’s going to be worth it.

Here’s a keg of the North Fork Flood Stage Whiskey. Can’t wait to give it a try.

Here’s Danny (left), working the crowd.

The distillery has a neat collection of old whiskey bottles. Shawn and I are considering donating our brandy bottle to the cause. Our bottle is shaped like a liberty bell because it was made in 1976 and then sat, unopened, on a shelf in my grandparents’ house until this year. Shawn discovered it and my Gramma gave it to him. It’s got a little less brandy in it than when it was bottled because of the angel’s share, but since it’s 35 years old, it’s a smooth, smooth brandy. Evidently that’s how you get such a divine drink: Put it on a shelf and forget about it.

Hubs and I purchased bottle No. 60 of Batch 1A. A keepsake, no doubt!

Chili League (and new holidays)

On Wednesday this past week, us folks in northwest Montana created a new holiday (well, the credit really goes to Hilary at Outside Media): “406 Day.” Wednesday was April 6, so, 4-06. And Montana’s area code is 406, so it’s the new Montana holiday. And to celebrate, we had the Chili League finals.

What’s Chili League you might ask? It’s a bunch of us (upwards of 40 or 50 people) getting together on a Friday to enjoy each others’ company and to put our best chili recipes to the test. In the past few months, we’ve tried probably a dozen different chilis, all fabulous. Some were red chilis, some were green. I think there was even a white chili, too. Some had meat, some were vegetarian (and had squash!). One didn’t have any beans (“true chilis don’t have beans”). Some were fairly simple recipes (like mine – the secret weapon is Indian chili powder) and others took days of experimentation. All chilis were creatively named (ours was dubbed “Afterburn”).

So the winners from each “heat” competed Wednesday.

Buck Fever, Chili Supresa and (well, I’m forgetting the name of the third chili… someone remind me!) went head to head. The competition was fierce. Brows shone with a sheen of sweat (from the competition? from the heat?).

And Buck Fever claimed the victory. A melange of venison, antelope and elk, the bean-less chili took the crown. Its maker, Erik Lorona, is pictured below with his lovely wife Aubrie. He’s holding the Chili League trophy, from which he’s required to eat his chili during next year’s competition.

During the summer, after all, Chili League becomes Barbecue League. Ladies and gents, fire up your grills!

I also made orange rolls for the event. Here’s a before-I-baked-them photo. I like how you can see the little flecks of grated orange peel in the dough. Alas, there’s no “after” photo because folks inhaled them! But I guess that’s a good thing!