Visiting with the Granddaughters

We have our daughter and granddaughters here for a couple of weeks. Life is busy, they talked me into downloading an app on my phone that keeps track of my steps. I thought that I was keeping track of them pretty well up until now, instead of making me walk more, it just reminds me that I am not walking as much as I should. Not sure it is a good thing or not.
I am enjoying having them around for awhile though. We’re heading over to WA. state for a family reunion next week. Will see a few of the sites, do a little hiking and then back home for a well deserved rest, I will need it by then. The girls are in high school now, both have their cars and not easy to keep up with them. I remember the days when I had teenagers, just was not enough time in the day to get everything done.

The cherries are hanging from the trees, the cauliflower looks like it had a bit too much fertilizer (It’s huge!!!!), and the chicks are growing like weeds. Life is good on the farm. We haven’t heard the guinea hens get overly loud yet, but everyone says it’s coming. I think that I am kinda looking forward to it, ever since losing the dog, it’s just too quiet around here. We have been kicking around the idea of getting a Britney or a blue tick hound dog, they both look like they would fit right into our life style. The Britney is a little smaller, making it a good dog for being in the house with us, and the hound just has that lazy look and feeling like she would fit right in also. What kind do you like?

You don’t have to see them or talk to them every day,
To know that God has sent them in His own special way.

Katie and Shy at Blacktail
Katie and Shy at Blacktail
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Porch Swing

The joys of summer, would you enjoy your summer more if you could swing lazily in the afternoons on your very own porch swing?
For years we have purchased porch swings sold at Lowes or Home Depot… The fact that they would last for a year or two and then fall apart, was wearing on me pretty hard. I just could not see throwing our money into another cheap piece of landfill. Buying the replacement cushions, cost me as much as buying a whole new swing. Then what do you do with the old frames that are left?

With some thorough internet searching, we decided on a style and went for it.  The plan we chose were pretty simple, made out of all 2×4’s. We adjusted to fit our needs and within a couple of days we had the swing of our dreams.

Rapeljes Finished Swing
The finished model.
2x4 Frame
2×4 Frame

2 x 4 frame with dark cherry stain. Trex for the finished seating and back. 2 x 6 arm rests and braces.

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Garden of 1000 Buddha

More strawberries please, just 24 strawberry plants but boy are they big this year. Got it right this time, more acid to the soil, and more food. We have the everbearing kind, they produce right up till the first hard frost. We hope to be able to freeze up enough to last all year.

Hot Days Ahead! A reminder that pets and livestock need extra water to drink. My chickens are drinking nearly double their normal amount.
Our Community Appreciation Day and BBQ Fundraiser is a fun, old-fashioned, Summertime outing for your whole family. Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by our firefighters. Come visit with your friends and neighbors. Check out our fire engines, and meet our firefighters. And, it’s a great opportunity to ask questions, and learn more about fire prevention and fire safety. Old-fashioned community BBQ with Grilled bison burgers, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, cake and huckleberry ice cream. Live music, fire truck rides, and silent auction.

Everyday we enjoy time on our porch swing. The last two swings only lasted a few years, then all the fabric falls apart. So we’re building our own swing. The frame of the porch swing is 2X4’s a couple pieces of 2×6’s and Trex for the seat and the back. I am hoping that the Trex will out last me, I like to build things to last, sure not going to have to repeat this in a couple of years. Becca just finished stripping our front door, then stain and two seal coats. What a nice looking front door we have now. Summer is here and there are always projects that need to get done. We had to replace a few windows this year also, they had lost their seal. You know the old saying, “If you live in a place long enough you will have to replace the whole thing sooner or later”. I don’t know if anyone really said that, but it sure seems to be true.

Becca made a trip down to Arlee Montana, a small valley just north of Missoula, to Garden of 1000 Buddhas. It was pretty interesting, the gardens were kept nice, the setting was well thought out with mountains surrounding the place. She put together a video of the gardens and statues for you to enjoy.

Thought for Today –
“Nothing ever comes to someone, that is really worth having, except as a result of hard work.”

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Life is Berry Berry Good, Steven and Becca

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Bears In Glacier Park

Happy 4th to everyone, we do live in the richest country on earth, and still we find it hard to prosper. Lucky for me, a good garden, good chicken hens, and my good wife, make me one of the lucky ones. I got all I need to be happy.

All American Pie
Blueberry, Strawberry and Rhubarb

I have figured out why one fruit tree has been plagued with aphids. My plum tree has aphid trouble every year, even after spraying. Spraying was the wrong thing to do, seems I killed most of the aphids for a short time only. There were ants protecting the aphids, ants were the problem. Aphids should be controlled by ladybugs and other good insects. So all I needed to do was to get the ants out of the tree. A product called “Tree Tanglefoot” gets rid of the ants. If you have aphid problems, give it a try, sure worked for me.

We’re all about celebrating the fourth of July, however with the heat in the western states this year, we would just like to caution everyone of the fireworks fire danger. I would like to see a standard light show that was not so dangerous to us or the environment. Maybe a trained flock of birds connected to laser lights. Have a fun-and-safe Fourth of July.

Cutbank Bridge Glacier
Bridge in Glacier

Ideas matter. Ideas have consequences. Our free American Republic was founded on an idea – the idea of individual liberty. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The sanctity of contracts and private property. The freedom to try. The freedom to fail. The freedom to learn from our mistakes. The freedom to prosper and to keep the fruits of our labors. The freedom to exercise our conscience when it comes to charity and our religious beliefs. It is nothing less than the fundamental principle of self-ownership – that your life belongs to you – not the state – and that the goal is to live free. We Americans were the first in all the history of the world to claim freedom as our inalienable right, granted to us by our Creator and this is the week that we as a country celebrate that right.

Happy Cycling in Glacier Park.

It’s a perfect time to go for a bike ride, but if you ride around in the Rocky Mtns. you must be aware of the bears and other wild critters. This week one of the rangers was out riding with a friend in a secluded area not far from the hwy. when a chance encounter with a grizzly ended badly. This doesn’t happen often, however a reminder that we live in bear country.

General Biking Information,

First of all, make sure your bike and equipment are in perfect working order, and wear proper gear: helmet, cycling shorts or tights, windbreaker jacket, cycle gloves, etc.

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Moving the Baby Chickens

Days are long and nights are short, it takes an effort to get enough sleep.
We were out in the garden working last night, we both love to garden. The chickens are over 2 weeks old now, and it is time to move them out of the brooder house and out to the barn. They’re getting pretty big, and the guineas are starting to fly already. We need to keep them contained for a couple of weeks yet. But with 40 of them, the brooder house just isn’t big enough. Our barn area is more like a half sided carport, a roof and walls that go half way up. It was time to put something on the top of the walls so that they could not fly out. Usually we would use the hen house, however the layers are still in there and putting them together would cause quite a ruckus. Anyway when we finally came in, it was just getting a little too dark to work. Looking at the clock and it was 10.45. That’s pretty late to be working outside, even on the longest day of the year.

Becca had the girls over for a potluck lunch yesterday, 15 of them showed up and by the sounds of it they had a fun time. They can sure get going telling stories and laughing. We weren’t sure if it was going to rain or shine, the weather called for blue skies but when the first car pulled-in the dark clouds appeared and broke loose. We had thunder and quite the downpour for the first half hour. Then the weather cleared up and we all congregated on the deck for the remainder of the party. Potluck, cake and drinks. It’s good to have friends to laugh with.

I see all kinds of animals, running wild and free,
birds in all their glory passing overhead in flight.
I watch the fading sunset across an endless sea,

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Deer Everywhere

There were 11 deer hanging out on the property today. One big buck and many does. Don’t see any of the fawns yet. One more week, then they will be running all over this place. Soon after that we will be seeing the fawns frolicking around the fields. Whenever a bunch of fawns get together, they play like baby goats do. Well, almost like.

Deer In Trees
Too many deer this year.

Let the summer fun begin. We’re heading to Missoula to visit family and friends and go to the big quilt show. I’m so amazed at the work these gals do on their quilts. I was never one for quilting, could not sit still long enough I guess. My sister-in-law does beautiful work though, just walking through her house is like attending a show in itself. I believe she’s making quilts for charity also. She belongs to a quilting club and they all work together on the ones being donated. Joining a club and getting together with others and working on a common goal, or just getting together and playing cards is a great way to improve your well-being. Socializing, one of the best kept secrets to good health and a long life, having a robust social network that includes relatives, friends, and other relationships. These are just a few of the reasons why you should prioritize your family and your pals.

So many things to do, rodeos, hiking, biking, fishing, Indian Powwow, fairs and flowers. Somehow we make time to take them all in. I particularly will be sure to watch-and-film the pig wrestling. The kids seem to have a good time and for some reason it cracks me up. Going to be a hoot.

Some places are having a heat wave, not here, we had frost two mornings ago. All the hot weather plants like tomatoes, peppers, dahlias, etc, aren’t looking so good. What a surprise, frost, it was light frost so I guess we can be glad about that.

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Deadwood Falls

42 birds, 5 kinds, nice new baby chicks. They are so cute, time to make a movie. We love the eggs and meat they provide. 9 Black Stars will be our new laying hens, 8 guineas for guard dogs and bug control, eat the rest. The Araucana chickens give blue and green eggs, my mom says they will class-up the place. The guineas got here two days before the baby chicks, that was all the time they needed to make the place their own. We put the chicks in the brooder house, and within an hour of being together one of the guineas decided that he was the boss. Running from one black star to the next, he would peck and grab hold of their feet to let them know he was the top chick in the house. I don’t know if he would have gone on to attack the rest of the chicks, so I decided it was time to separate him out. I put up a little gate and restricted him to the corner, giving him a couple hours of time out. Seemed to do the trick. We also changed out the light to a red bulb, who knew that white light would make them hostile.

For 22 years we’ve been looking for plants and flowers that the deer won’t eat. Most things get a big fence, 7.5 feet tall, that seems to do it. I can tell you our deer eat rhubarb, pumpkin plants, lilacs, and most other plants just fine. Our neighbor has nice Oriental Poppy plants, wow they look nice. Tomorrow were going to plant some Orange and Red Poppy plants. I’m so thrilled, I might plant them right in the middle of the lawn, why not.

Out of our kiln today we got 7 new large bowls, some of our finest pottery yet. I had fun carving some simple patterns on the sides, two of them had been squared off while still wet, making for a unique four sided bowls. During the summer friends will stop by for a paint party. We paint glaze for a few days and into the fire they go. We all paint-up a storm, sometimes we collaborate and everyone paints on the same piece. The more time we spent on each piece, the better they turnout. Must be at least 100 pieces of pottery we made thru the winter, ready to be finished-up this summer.

Walk just a little further down the trail and you’ll arrive at Deadwood Falls,
a beautiful 10-foot waterfall with deep, crystal clear pools of water above and below the falls.

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Campfires and Fishing

Johns Lake
Fishing at John’s Lake in Glacier Park

Johns-Lake-271Every year we grow flowers and some vegetable plants on our deck. This year we have Cilantro, the smell is quite enjoyable in small amounts. Don’t remember ever growing Cilantro before, can’t wait to use it in a few recipes. Perhaps you can tell us about some good ways to use Cilantro?

Tomorrow we pickup our new Guinea hens. I hear they are fun to watch, I’ll keep my video camera handy for all the fun. We hope to keep them around for many years to eat all the bugs, mostly the ticks; sure would be nice to be rid of the ticks. No kidding, I hear they love ticks.

Next week we get 32 new chicks, 8 new laying hens and the rest for meat. Two are Anaconda chickens, still not sure why we need green and blue eggs.

Have you heard about the James Webb Space Telescope, it will be launched in 2018, on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch vehicle is part of the European contribution to the mission. They expect to see light that was emitted over 13 billion years ago. Well that sounds nice, I wonder if there will ever be any practical application. Looking back in time, seeing the history of the universe, can’t wait to hear more.

Off to Glacier National Park we go, fishing, hiking and lots of picture taking. This year we plan to include fishing on many of our hikes. There’s tons of nice fishing places in Glacier Park, no license needed either. Just remember the bear spray, there’s plenty of hungry bears roaming around. Oh fun, Becca with her fly pole, and me with my bobber.

Summer around here means late evening walks, sitting by the bonfire with a good drink and enjoying the great outdoors. Ya don’t really need to go camping when you live in the woods like we do. Enjoying the wildlife roaming freely and fresh smells of being surrounded by forest. On our walks we’ve started watching for the baby deer now. The first couple weeks of June is prime time for mommas to be dropping those baby fawns. It’s pretty likely that we’ll see one or two of those little guys lying close to the driveway. One year I spotted a fawn just minutes after being born, hopped out of the car a grabbed the camera. As I was shooting pictures of that one, Steven walked up and noticed another that I had walked passed without noticing. So they are there, you just have to keep looking, the mothers hide them pretty well.

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Large Fruit Bowls

A request for two matching fruit bowls, this is always a challenge. So Steven and I both headed out to the studio to see if we could get to bowls to match. We started with 7 lb chunks of Porcelain clay. The object is to get two bowls that are very close in size and shape. Here is the first days try. We both threw two bowls and as you can see they did not quite match. Today is another day and another try.

Large Fruit Bowl
Throwing 4 Large Fruit Bowls

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