Monday, June 26, 2017

First Day At the Lake

Dave gently woke me this morning, pulling me from the wildest and most vivid dream. He was interested in breakfast at Mrs. Wonderful's Marmalade Cafe. I, of course, had to detail my dream for him before I would consider the idea. But of course the the prospect of Mrs. Wonderful's got me right up and ready to head out the door. There have been a lot of days like this recently (where I pop up and out the door without so much as a by your leave), and I really must start making time to shower. Everyone would appreciate it.

So a blueberry scone and an iced coffee for me and a breakfast sandwich for Dave at Mrs. Wonderful's, and then it was back home to spin! After yesterday's marathon design day for the bed on the computer, I determined to stay off the computer as much as possible today, and not to work on the bed at all. The creative part of my brain needed a break. Spinning is great when you want to turn your brain off.

This afternoon I took the girls out to the family property on Finley Point. This is the first time we've been there since I sold my half of it to my uncle, and it felt very odd. As we were going down the drive to the cabin I spotted the pine tree where the ashes of everyone in the family who has died have been spread. Even our beloved pet's ashes have been laid to rest there. This summer I will place my mother's ashes there, and I will have no more claim to the place. It feels very odd to have severed my connection to my Mom's final home.

My grandparents bought the lake property in 1965. Originally they had a mobil home there, and later Grandpa built a cabin next to it that they planned to use for guests and laundry. The laundry part never got hooked up (there was a washer but either never a dryer or never a dryer that was hooked up). Some time after they both died and my parents took over stewardship of and a half interest in the property. The mobil home was eventually hauled off leaving just the cabin. After Mom died, I held onto my share of it for just over a year, and then I decided to let go. My uncle fiercely loves that property, and his memories of it growing up are much more solid than mine. He is eight years older than I am, and he was already a teenager when his parents bought it. He went there every weekend while I spent a lot of my formative weekends camping on the side of the Loch Sa river just over the border in Idaho.

Even so, it was hard for me there today realizing I had no more connection to it. It is not my place anymore--as it was when my mother owned half of it or after she died and I owned half of it. It is not mine, nor will it ever be my child's. It is Ed's and will be his children's. It was a bittersweet day for all of that. I hope subsequent visits will be less emotional for me--especially since I need to clear out the metal storage building on the property where my parents stored a lot of their things.

* I realized as I went to add the photos I took today to this post that I had a bunch of Gallifrey, and none of the girls! I'll work on that for later in the week. For now, It's time to head exhausted to bed, ready to rise in the morning and get my tooth fixed!

There Would Be a Post Tonight...

...But I left it till the very last minute as I worked in Sketch-up all day (except for the lovely lunch with Diane and Francie after a quick trip to WalMart with Jessie and Kyla), and now I have to go see if I can find Kaiju. He got in a fight with a neighbor cat and hasn't been seen since. More tomorrow. (My shoulder hurts from being on the computer for the past 14 hours...)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Road Less Traveled and a Musician On Every Corner

Snow on the Missions from the dusty rise
Jessie and Kyla are coming in from Atlanta tonight--flying into Missoula--and I wanted to go to the farmer's market there this morning too so we came in early-ish. Oh I woke at 7:30, but then the eyelids took pity on the eyeballs and closed again till 8:30. After seeing to the pets, showering, and a bit of desultory cleaning, we hit the road.

Another vista on the road less taken
As usual we took the back trail (literally), and as we were in no hurry and it was such a beautiful day, we stopped for me to take many pictures. I was chasing down my favorite vista of the Mission Mountains and saw a dusty rise on the dirt road off to our right through the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge. It looked to offer the perfect capture point for a picture. Dave was amenable so off off-road we went. Oh we were still on a road as we were in the mini van, not an ATV, but it was a narrow dirt road, and a couple of old (old) pickups were the only vehicles we saw the entire time we were on it. We saw cows. Lots and lots of cows. We saw some deer--including a doe with a little fawn almost lost in the high grass--and ducks and geese. And I got my vista shot.

We got to Missoula in plenty of time to park and take a stroll through downtown to the farmer's market. Unlike the Polson market yesterday, the Missoula farmer's market is all produce, meat, honey, plants and foodstuffs. There is another market, the People's Market, a block away where you can find handcrafts, crystals with special powers, hand-tied flies for fly fishing, healing oils and unguents, and anything else you might expect in the city that is the last bastion of the time of peace and love in Montana.

At the first booth in the farmer's market, run by one of the many Hmong families that sell there, we found beautiful fresh morel mushrooms and grabbed a couple of bags. It was too early for huckleberries--the Hmong will have those come later in the summer. The Amish and Mennonites were also well-represented as market vendors as were the occasional Russian or Eastern European babushkas selling pickling cucs. While we didn't get any cucs today, I have a hankering to make pickles this summer so I will be picking up some nice little ones for baby dills later on.

More farmer's market bounty
We skipped the People's Market today in favor of the street musicians, and I was absolutely blown away by Jesse Davis and William Cook of TopHouse. They were gracious enough to let me video them playing a song so I could post it here, and I was gracious enough to give them (literally again) a fistful of money. Okay, it was mostly ones, but it was all Dave would let me have. I can get a bit... carried away in my enthusiasms. I also liked the woman playing banjo and the guy in a kilt and a baseball cap singing Livin' On a Prayer. Music on every corner. Literally.

Whenever we come to Missoula I make it a point to go the 4 Ravens Gallery. My first artistic mentor, Katie Patten of Mercurial Art and Glass Concepts is one of the owner/partners, and I always find gorgeous work there to keep and to gift. Today I fell in love with a couple of watercolors, one of shallots and one of onions. I may have to purchase one of them before the summer is over. For today we acquired pottery--an olive oil cruet and a coffee mug to add to my handmade mugs collection.

Livin' On a Prayer
(in a kilt)
Butterfly Herbs, seductively beguiling the passers-by with scents of patchouli, ambergris, frankincense, myrrh and musk--eau de 1960's in a gem of an old building on Higgins Avenue--was our next stop. Dave shopped for spices, and I just had a coffee and drank in the atmosphere. Flower children of every age and degree of personal hygiene abounded with dreads, tats, and piercings the norm rather than the exception. I could have sat there all day. But Dave had a hankering for empanadas at the little storefront empanaderia in front of where we parked. Sadly, upon closer inspection there wasn't an onionless empanada to be had so we had to do without.

She could play that banjo...
The afternoon was spent reliving Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I have to admit that Kurt Russell as a younger Ego was much less creeptastic this time through. Maybe because I was prepared for him. Now we relax at Liquid Planet back downtown until it's time to go to the airport. A coffeeshop is not a popular hangout on a summer evening in Missoula so we are enjoying having the comfy leather couches all to ourselves. I think I'll get a kombucha (I'm sure they have it here) now and go back to designing our bed. I leave you with... TopHouse!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Okay, Enough Sleeping, Time To Make

Sunset over the lake at 10:00 pm!
After bouncing out of bed this morning... Oh I can't lie, there was less bounce and more stumble. But I thought about bouncing because today was our first day of the summer going to the Polson Farmer's Market! This early in the season there is less farmer and more crafter/baker, but it is always fun to peruse the all the wares from bullet keychains to cheese curds to fresh apple pie, scones and jam. There was even a guy selling Lichtenberg burned wood objects. He made his Lichtenberg machine from a microwave transformer. It's clearly more powerful than the Calistoga one I purchased (deeper longer burns), but I'm betting less safe.

moving slabs of blue pine
After we got home (Dave, Gallifrey, and I all went in the Mini Cooper--Gallifrey was the hit of the market), I started spinning the fiber for my combination/mash-up sweater coat. That is going to be one fun project--though I'm still unsure about using merino in a coat. A little spinning, a little reading, and it was time to head out to the Dupuis lumber mill for my first foray buying raw wood for furniture building. I have my heart set on a blue pine desk and bed frame/headboard for Austin. Blue pine is so named because it is pine that was killed by mountain pine beetles and then infected with a fungus that caused dark staining in the sapwood. I have been wanting to make this bed for three years, and this summer I finally hit the tipping point for seeing what wood is available and what the cost is.

The first slabs I picked out for a desk and
maybe a dining table...
Out at Dupuis, the owner, Daylen, took me to the back metal shed and we went through the dried cut slabs they already have. They have logs too, but those take a long time to dry after they're cut into slabs--even with a kiln. Picking out this wood is not like picking through a bin of fiber or a case of glass. The slabs were stacked with little spacers in between, and they were 3-4 inches thick, 20-27 inches wide and 10-12 feet long. Of course the ones that initially caught my eye were on the bottom of the pile so Daylen went out and got the biggest forklift I have ever seen and moved everything around so I could get all the way to the bottom ones. I fell in love with four 3-inch thick 12-foot long pieces of varying widths and headed home after purchasing them. Dupuis is going to plane them for me and there's no way I could have carried them in the Mini Cooper anyway. As it is, I'm going to have to figure out how to get them back to Texas... But, as Dave likes to say, that's a problem for future Brenda.

Rough sketch of bed--headboard detail not started
mortise and tenon joints
Back at the homestead I watched a bunch of YouTube videos by the Wood Whisperer, downloaded a copy of Google Sketch-up and started designing. Here is what I have come up with so far. It took quite a bit of time to get proficient enough with Sketch-up to be able to get the detail I wanted in the mortise and tenon joints for the frame pieces and the footboard so I haven't even started on the headboard part. I also didn't even try to show the natural edges that the footboard will have (I'm using a 20 inch wide, 3 inch thick slab for it).

Tomorrow we go to Missoula to pick up Jessie and Kyla at the airport (after a day roaming the Missoula Farmer's Market, taking in an afternoon movie and an early dinner) so I won't get to work on my designs again till then. Oh it's hard to wait!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Life Slows Its Pace Again

Starting the morning in the garden
I would highly recommend that everyone split their time between two households. I hadn't realized what an incredible break moving from one place to another--even for just a couple of months--gives one's brain. I cannot stress what a great life-resetter it is! I remember feeling vastly relieved and unencumbered when I moved to Austin last June. Yes, I had a ton of unpacking and organizing to do, but any bad cycle or habits of time that I had in Atlanta were broken. Every day dawned fresh with things to do, but no chains already set. I had choices, and I didn't feel overwhelmed.

Gallifrey helps separate the roving
Montana this summer feels like that too. I get up in the morning and I garden--or not, I work on my spinning project--or not, I have an appointment or lesson--or not. There is no drive, only flow. Life stretches out in front of me with endless possibilities and refreshingly few obligations. Sure there is some maintenance (it wouldn't be a home of it didn't require time for upkeep), but it doesn't swamp me.

Before we left Austin I cleaned out the refrigerator and threw away old bottles, jars, and packages of things that would be out of date before we got back from the summer. It felt liberating, and I reveled in the knowledge that I will return home to a clean (and mostly empty) fridge. I wish I had done the same thing here. I really looked at the contents of the door of the refrigerator here today and I was horrified. There was mayonnaise from our last stay here... two years ago. The door was crammed with things I know house science projects or alien lifeforms waiting to eat our brains while we sleep. Looks like I do have one upcoming obligation here...

Kaiju guards the roving I decided not to use
It's so quiet in this house that, when I am not typing on the keyboard, I can hear my heart beating in my ears, and the occasional squeak of Dave's chair upstairs. The pets aren't even snoring right now. It's putting me to sleep, but before I head off for a nap, I'm going to write about a project I have begun. It's a SAL/KAL (spin along, knit along) that I am starting now and will continue in conjunction with the Tour de Fleece. (More on that another day.)

The project is designed to help use up beautiful but random (not matched to a color or project) 4 oz skeins of hand dyed roving. Every spinner buys them, luscious little braids of scrumptious color that we have no idea what we're going to do with but which we absolutely, positively must have. Then they languish in our stashes because there's not all that much you can do with 4 oz of yarn--no matter what the One Skein Wonder books tell you. But for this project, it doesn't matter if you only have one skein of any given colorway as long as you have eight skeins that you can see going together in a glorious technicolor project. Eight skeins (11 for me--I don't want to run short) are enough to knit a sweater. I'm going to knit a sweater coat!

Look at the lovely crossover cable in the back!
I really hope a little over 3-1/2 lbs of yarn will be enough to make this pattern. Maybe I should do more than guess and actually take some measurements because once I have started spinning, it will be hard to add more roving into the mix and I have my heart set on this pattern.

When I was in high school I found a thick red mohair and wool sweater coat knit in a thick cable pattern by my mother. It was enormous--I don't think she ever wore it. She said I could have it and I wore it everywhere, whenever it was cold enough (and in Montana that meant I had plenty of opportunity). I wore it through college and brought it to graduate school in Chicago. Somewhere there I lost it, as often happens with things one loves and drags around the world. I have thought of it many times in the 30 years since it disappeared, and wished I still had it. Now I am taking roving of every color in Merino, Polworth, and other blends of wool and I'm going to spin a light yarn for a lightweight sweater coat that I can wear in Austin. Merino is not the most durable of wools. It is the softest, but I have some reservations about its appropriateness for this coat. I guess I'll have to wait for the final evaluation and choice when I finish the yarn.

Pavlova sleeps on the discarded alpaca roving
The pets all helped in the preparation of the fiber--mostly by napping on or near it. Pavlova took a brief, but more intense roll by chasing and pouncing on bits as I pulled them apart. She was eventually dissuaded.

And then it was time for a late lunch, some reading in the Sky chair, followed by a two-hour nap. Dave napped too as it was after 5:00 in Austin and the work day was done. He is convinced that we are sleeping so much because of the lack of oxygen in the air (we are at about 3,000 ft being at the top of the hill in Polson). I think it's just been a hard couple of years.

Now the evening stretches lazily ahead. Maybe some spinning, maybe some reading. There'll be enough time tomorrow or next week for more serious endeavors.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Dog's Purpose

I have posted with a cat in my lap. I have posted with two cats in my lap. This is the first time I have attempted a post with a cat and a dog. But I am not going to dislodge anyone. We all just watched A Dog's Purpose. Gallifrey was fascinated at the beginning, and then went to sleep. Jig stayed agitated for the entire movie and kept pressing up against my seat staring at me. Finally I let him up next to me, and he curled into a ball huddled against my leg with his nose tucked to his tail and to my thigh. Then Kaiju wanted some lap time for the first time since we got here. And so there were two.

The movie is over, the tears are dried, and the animals remain nestled. All I need now is Pavlova deciding to join us. I was disappointed that the critics panned the movie (it only got 30% Rotten Tomatoes on Netflix), but I was encouraged by the audience reviews (4.5 stars from 511 reviews). Even Dave liked it--while saying it was the most manipulative movie since ET (and, yes, he cried too). All that remains for me is this post and the inside of my eyelids--oh yes, and some soppy snuggling with my spouse.

We started the evening by going to the East Shore Smokehouse for dinner, then home for wine, chocolate chip cookies (Dave is the cookie god), and a wonderfully sappy movie (made a change from our usual fare of Deadwood Season 2). Now it's 10:00 pm and it's still light out. I love summer in Montana!

The time zone is a bit problematic as my piano lesson is at 8:00 am Wednesday morning for the rest of the summer (9:00 in Austin and 10:00 in Atlanta where my teacher is), but I got up at 7:00 (it gets light about 5:30 am) to practice, had my lesson, and then went out to the garden for a couple of hours. I don't remember all I did this afternoon. I know I worked on my upcoming spinning project (a fascinating piece I will describe on Friday) and read, and I didn't nap. Well, I didn't really nap. I did lie down for half an hour before going to dinner but the J called from Atlanta halfway through and we talked for a good long while. I have missed her and am really looking forward to seeing both her and Kyla on Saturday!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I told myself (and my spouse) that I would rest and relax this first week. Yesterday I didn't really follow through on that plan, but I'm all behind it today. So far I've read email, signed up for the Tour de Fleece (similar to Spinzilla only linked to the Tour de France and our teams spin as theirs do), planned my project (based on the random stash basket of hand dyed rovings I brought with me to Montana), and had breakfast. I've also lazed in the Sky Chair and done a bit of reading. Now I'm contemplating a nap.


Nap over, dinner over, a ride with Gallifrey in the Mini Cooper with the top down over. It's only 9:15, but bed is calling me again. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll wake up and get back into the groove. As soon as I get all the pets (including the kitten) back in, I'll wrap up for the night.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Let the Summer Begin

That ribbon of highway
Somehow the night before last when I got online to post, I didn't notice that my post from Friday on Glass Incarnate was missing. However tonight I noticed that both of the posts from the past three days that I did on my phone ended up on the misbeehiving blog! Apparently when I post from my phone it goes there by default. Who knew. So I moved the posts over tomnight, and sadly lost the comments (sorry Bill!) Ididn't want to lose my streak of posting every day since December 27, 2016. Now I'm ready for today's.

I am very relaxed right now--a super-sized Negroni will do that for you, even if you had it over four hours ago--and I still don't feel up to a long post. I think the idea of posting earlier in the day is a good one. Today I managed to get up by 9:00 am (I heard Dave on his conference call on the deck above me and that was enough to get my bones moving out of bed). Dave took a short break from work--sadly no day off--and we went to Pop's Grill for an enormous breakfast, and when we got home, I decided to give myself a treat and I weeded in the garden for an hour. There were many other things I could have done--maybe even should have done--but I chose to clear my mind and zen out in the dirt.

They don't call it Big Sky Country for nothing
The garden at my mom's house used to seem so big and overwhelming to me! I used to look at it and I couldn't imagine getting it all weeded. Today I parceled it out into a week's work, and I determined a good treat for weeding would be to go buy some perennials to take the place of the weeds I pulled. Expanding your projects makes you grow, and the experience of putting in the botanical garden in Austin makes this entire yard look small. Most of the weeds in the bed are grasses--though there is a dandelion or two in the bunch--so weeding goes fast and I feel no angst about pulling up wild flowers. Tomorrow I'll plant the perennials I got at the nursery this afternoon, and then I'll weed the next strip in the garden. I should have taken pictures today, but I'll do it tomorrow.

Plants here are very expensive. Next year it might be a good idea to grow seedlings in Texas and then bring them up here to plant in the garden. I still have a big bed in front that I covered in plastic three years ago in preparation for turning it into a a large raised bed and it's going to need a lot of plants. Pete from two doors down offered me some irises and poppies when he splits his this week, but they'll just make a dent. Or I could just continue to support the small local nursery which has to provide a living for its owners in an inhospitable climate in a very small town.

The view of the lake from dinner last night
But enough of plans. This summer is all about relaxing and recharging my batteries. Sure I'll source some blue pine to make our bed and my desk, and maybe I'll design the mosaic for the front hall and fuse some experimental glow in the dark tile for our master bath remodel (the powder came Friday!).l But, really, relaxation and recharge are the watchwords. Pictures of the lovely lake and garden tomorrow.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


After a brutal two days in the car, we have arrived in Polson. All the animals were fed and watered, and we established a connection to the Internet. The rest can wait till tomorrow. Shortest blog post ever.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

In the Motel With Three Dogs and Two Cats

Everyone is on edge and testy tonight after 14 hours in the car. Well, everyone who was in the minivan anyway. Dave, who drove the Mini Cooper alone without even any music to keep him company, is the most sanguine of all of us. Kaiju doesn't deal with stress well--he lashes out at everyone with wicked teeth and wickedly fast claws. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to towel him to get him into the carrier tomorrow. Today, after a brief foray around the car, he went back into his carrier (each cat has to have their own because Kaiju is vicious when he gets put into it) and slept there all day. Pavlova slept in my lap and the days were good in the back (Gallifrey gets the back bench seat and Jig and Baxter took turns on the other backseat).

All went well until Baxter managed to slip off the seat on the door side and get himself wedged. He cried and carried on and just got himself more and more stuck. There we were doing 75 mph going through somewhere near Denver and I had to pull off onto the shoulder and get out to help Baxter. But it got worse. When I opened the side (powered) door, Baxter slid and his head went through the bottom of the door mechanism. The doors are meant to open if you close them on something, but apparently there is no safety mechanism if something falls through to the back. I was hauling on the door trying to stop it from closing on his neck as it was opening and the cars on the highway (thankfully on the other side of the car) were zipping by at a bezillion mph. I ended up grabbing his collar and pulling him out by his neck. We were both shaking by then, but he was okay.

Now we're settled into a La Quinta, Dave went out for a bottle of wine while I ordered pizza to be delivered. Everyone has eaten, and we're ready to sleep. Tomorrow, Montana.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Pond is Done, I'm Not Packed, I'm Going To Bed Anyway

I thought I'd have the time and energy to do a good post today about the garden and Montana and the upcoming summer. Clearly I wasn't thinking. I'll probably be in Polson before I can do another good long post. Till then, stay sane.