Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
that same sparce, pale yellowgreen of leaves just at the tips of branches.
For me it reinforces that 'beginning-is-the-end-is-the-beginning' kind of feeling
that seasonal shifts stir up. A peace
that can be found in repetition, in the certainty of a new season,
and in the knowledge that the only thing you can be sure of
There's a lot of comfort in that, I think.
So, with faith in this revolution of cycles,
I am planting.
Or prepping, anyway...a bed for garlic.
We've covered most of the garden-to-be with weed-mat
to supress the weeds and grass beneath it.
But we left this little square
to prep and plant this fall.
Another sign of fall...the return of cattle:
Many of the large ranches around here own land in the Big Hole Valley too, and their cattle spend summers grazing at those higher altitudes, while in our neighborhood much of the land is farmed or hayed. With cooler weather and the end of the growing season, cattle are trucked back here to winter in the comparitavely warmer fields of the Beaverhead Valley.
The fields we've walked past and driven by all summer; always in some stage of the growing, cutting, drying, baling process...are suddenly full of wide-eyed cattle.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Last week, the temperature actually began to remind me that it is fall.
We've had such a beautiful season so far- days that feel more like summer than June did -
flip-flops & tank-top type weather...which we've been drinking in because if anything is certain, it is that tomorrow it may all change.
So it's still gorgeous, only a little cooler in the mornings, when we start up the kitchen wood stove and take our time getting dressed and out into the day. Lots of coffee, NPR, and...dough...
very serious business, this purple playdough
Purple dough, pink with silver sparkles, tortilla dough, bread dough, some zucchini muffins...there is a perpetual crusty/gooey bowl and wooden spoon soaking in my sink. We are loving the recipe for Epic Play Dough from Dig This Chick - if you've never tried it - DO IT!
And my old garden in the Bitterroot, which we planted before moving, because we're crazy like that...is raining down late season goodness on us; carrots, beets, potatoes, winter squash...
these lovelies (veggies, not my toes) almost make up for the fact that I was near tomato-less this year...(big sigh)
In other domestic news, I sewed an entire article of clothing...from a pattern...that I pretty much followed! First time! My grandmother, Eileen, taught my sister and I how to sew when we'd visit our grandparents in the blazing hot desert in the middle of summer. She would take us to her very cool, air-conditioned guest house/sewing studio for the day and we'd sew dolls and t-shirts, and more dolls. She was also a gardener. I think about her when I sew or garden - although she is gone now, I feel such a connection to her through these small shared things.
My other grandmother, Betty, taught me many things, but I don't remember ever sewing with her. Somehow, though, I ended up with her sewing cupboard full of thread, pins, and tons of buttons. The buttons are great to sift through because my grandmother had fabulous clothes, and you can see it all reflected in these jars of buttons.
So, with the sewing knowledge from one grandmother, and the thread and buttons from another, I made Aven a dress.
Her favorite thing to do is fill this bucket with horse treats then wander out to Jack's pen, pointing and saying 'Jack!' 'Jack!' the whole way.
She is also mastering the dress-up trunk and the stairs to her bedroom...
And just like that, Shorty McShoo is outa here...!
Monday, October 11, 2010
I saw my brother a few days ago. He's moving to Hawaii in December. He had spent a few days at our mom's house on the lake, a place that holds a lot of history for our family.
He told me I just kept thinking how, it could be years before I see the lake again.
I agreed, that it must feel strange to know you're leaving, but to not have left yet...and to leave Montana, the place he's lived all his life, the mountains he is named after. This is no small thing, I think.
Well, you've never left, either he said...and it's true.
If I could sit down with myself, my ten-years-ago-self...19, and certain the adventures were just beginning, I would not have believed that in only ten years I would have two daughters...that I would be a mom, that I would still be living in Montana.
But there is absolutely nowhere else I'd rather be.
Especially on a warm day in October...
"Oh, I'll never leave Montana, brother." - Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Last weekend, our little family packed up an unbelievable amount of gear and piled in the big black truck; in search of a relaxing weekend away, spectacular night skies, and (hopefully) a moose to fill Mike's once-in-a-lifetime moose tag and our brand new, empty freezer.
We rented a cabin on the ranch that Mike had permission to hunt. It is an old hand-hewn log cabin; very remote, completely off the grid, no running water (unless you count the spring), and no power unless you crank the generator, which we did each evening...so perhaps not quite as rugged as I made it sound at first, but it definitely gave me a new-found respect for pioneer mamas, or any mamas who go through their day without water or power.
It was so quiet. Quiet in a way we don't often experience.
No phone, cars passing by, not even the hum of a refrigerator.
We heard cows calling to their calves, coyotes each morning
before the sun rose, wind.
The sound of the world, without us making all our noise.
You feel a little closer to the elemental out there.
To the basics of your life. Cold mornings and woodsmoke,
that give way to brilliant, eye-throbbing blue skies.
You begin your day with the arrival of light pouring down the hills
and through your windows, pooling around the kitchen table
where you gather over coffee, oranges, and crayons.
You fill your day with simple, good things.
Amelia taught Aven how to watercolor without eating too much paint...non-toxic, right?
And how to build a log cabin...
Lots of sipping from the spring just beyond the front door...
Self-portrait with sleeping baby in backpack
Then there was the hunt.
The scouting, planning,
the straining your eyes for a black form among the willows.
The needle-in-a-haystack search. Mike leaving before it is light on the horse. In this kind of vast wildness, there is a new appreciation for the days spent doing nothing but searching, looking, waiting.
And sometimes you get lucky.
I will say that this was a new experience for me. Mike has brought home elk, deer and antelope, but it has always been brought home. I have such a new appreciation for the entire process, from the hunt to the packing out...in near 90 degree weather...with two small children in tow. Amelia was fascinated. I will admit that I was a little aprehensive about how she would react. But we had good talks about where our food comes from, that the moose lived a good life, that we will think about him, and appreciate him for many many meals to come. She wanted to know if I could put the entire moose in the oven.
We said thank you, moose,
thank you, moose
and we packed our mountain of stuff,
and our moose,
and headed home.