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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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

large-server66 Stevens-large-server6

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Baring Falls, Glacier National Park

What to do with bad teenagers. Several teens broke into the high school and did a huge amount of damage. They broke sinks right off the wall and much more. It could be $50,000 in damages. Three boys did all that damage. Some people want them to do community service, others want them locked up. Montana is known to be harsh when dishing out punishment, sometimes they really get carried away. At least they won’t have to guess what kids were involved. The kids are students at the high school, and it seems they didn’t notice the cameras. Ya, lots of cameras all over the high school. It only took an hour to round up all the guilty ones. Something tells me this isn’t the first time these kids have been in trouble. That’s quite a bill for the community to suck-up for a little teen fun.

East side Waterfall
Waterfall east of the Summit on Going To The Sun Road
Baring Falls
Baring Falls on the East side of Going To The Sun Road

The Humming birds are back. There were just a few around till this last week, now our place is a buzz. Becca has planted lots of flowers already, Dahlias, Sweet Peas, Marigolds and Nasturtiums. The Lilacs are smelling up the place, we sure do enjoy them. It’s a fast show with the Lilacs, another week and show will be over, just walking outdoors and you get a whiff of those sweet lilacs.
The Going To The Sun road in Glacier Park will be opening up a bit early this year. Becca is out of school and can’t wait to get up there to do some hiking and picture taking. Spring fever around here is not just cleaning up around the place, but the idea of getting out into nature and exploring.
A couple of nice one day hikes are on our agenda for the coming week.

On your next trip to Glacier National Park, near Saint Marys Lake, checkout Bering Falls.

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Healthy Potatoes

Another reason to grow your own food or buy organic.

I just want to say that it is not a very good sign to buy a potato, set it in the window and wait for it to grow eyes so you can plant it, and nothing grows. I have never seen a potato that would not grow eyes. It sat in the window for at least three weeks, nothing happened, it did not grow and it did not rot. What is wrong with this picture.
I for one do not want to eat a potato that has so many chemicals added to it that is lasts that long and you can not plant it and grow more. Why would anyone want to put that in their body or feed it to their children?

Purple Russian and Yukon Potatoes
Purple Russian and Yukon Potatoes in a pottery bowl on the Deck.

First, most potatoes in the grocery store have been treated with a sprout-inhibitor that prevents the potatoes’ eyes from developing while in storage and on the shelf. Seed potatoes are NEVER treated with sprout inhibitors.
For nearly 50 years, chloropropham, or CIPC, has been considered the standard anti-sprouting agent. But today, the future of the compound is uncertain. Due to health concerns, the U.S. EPA has classified CIPC as a carbamate and has placed increasingly strict limits on the amount of CIPC residue that can remain on potatoes sold to consumers. Other countries have established even stricter limits on residue levels-some have even imposed zero tolerance policies.

Chlorpropham is moderately toxic by ingestion (2). It may cause irritation of the eyes or skin (2). Symptoms of poisoning in laboratory animals have included listlessness, incoordination, nose bleeds, protruding eyes, bloody tears, difficulty in breathing, prostration, inability to urinate, high fevers, and death. Autopsies of animals have shown inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining, congestion of the brain, lungs and other organs, and degenerative changes in the kidneys and liver.

Read more about what’s on your potatoes.

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Poem from Jeannie

The visit
My friends they came to visit…
Just the other day…
We talked about a lot things…
There was many things to say…
We went outside into the yard…
A little vault was there…
It was very cold inside the vault…
Too cold for us, I swear…
Becca tried to teach me…
How to access my poetry page…
But shucks it just did not sink in…
I blame it on my AGE…
We gave up on that real quick…
So we went back inside…
Until Steven stood up and said…
“Becca I guess it’s time we start the drive”…
We stepped out front onto the lawn…
When a mushroom cloud appeared…
Spewing high into the air…
Then it disappeared…
A ball of fire lit up the night…
From that factory down the street…
It burned so long, and got so close…
We could really feel the heat…
Thankfully a little luck…
Had fallen on our side…
The fire stopped just short of us…
And they took it right in stride…
They jumped into their car just then…
And headed down the street…
I watched the car as it disappeared…
It was really bittersweet…
To Steven and Becca!
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