A Vengeful Spring Storm

The pretty little mama robin came back this spring. She reclaimed the nest she and her husband built last year. I was so happy to see her flitting to and fro out my kitchen window. The lilacs were in full bloom, as were the apple, Schubert's chokecherry, buckeye, and cherry trees in my yard. Spring was springing!

Then, Montana being what it is, it hit.

And this year, it was particularly bad.

A horrible, heavy, wet snow that weighed down the trees made fragile by the sap freshening in their branches and trunks, and the new leaves holding the snow, which further pulled the branches down. The next morning was disastrous in our little town. Whole trees downed, and broken branches everywhere. I heard there were homes damaged from falling trees and limbs, as well as fences, vehicles, and anything else that happened to be in the way as the snow laden trees were torn to bits. Working where I do (at the City's refuse transfer station, recycling, and green waste drop spot) I saw first hand the carnage the spring storm produced. People brought pick up truck loads, trailer loads, and some dump truck loads full of broken branches, crushed bushes, and whole trees that had fallen. It was fairly chaotic at my little scale house, to say the least. After 6 days of people hauling load after load to the green waste pile, over 200 TONS of green waste had been brought in by folks. And that doesn't even count the the BIG City dump trucks that were running full loads (which were not weighed) out of town to a spot of land where they can deal with the massive amounts later. Boulevards and alleys are still littered with stacks of branches and bushes as they wait for the city crews to make their way through the town to load them all and haul them away.

Comparatively, I got off fairly easily with just one large branch broken off my apple tree, and a medium sized branch off my Ohio Buckeye. The lilacs and pussy willow were flattened, and are just starting to try and pull up again. Bruce wrapped a ratchet strap around the willow to get them off the ground.

My little Mrs. Robin couldn't take the whole ordeal, and flew off, leaving her one cracked and frozen egg in the nest. I wonder if she'll be back, or if she's packed and headed for warmer climes, where you don't have to worry about our unpredictable Montana weather.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Maybe Blogsy is Back On Task??

Well, that was a surprise! I have had the post prior to this one sitting in Blogsy since July, and last night did a little fiddling around with some settings and, prest-o change-o, the post published! So that is the reason there is an Independence Day story hot off the press in November! Gives me some hope that maybe I can pick it up again without bothering Mr. Bruce, because he is still up to his neck in gray hair popping, filthy word inducing work issues, and hasn't the time or energy to mess with this frivolous bit of my chattering,

 

 

My garden squeaked out a few pretty blooms this summer.

I toted home a few awesome finds from work. I thought this raggedy little trunk was worth bringing home to park under my pine tree.

Love this little bench. A man was moving and had this on his load to dump. It breaks my heart when I see beautiful, useful, OLD pieces like this that have managed to stay all in one piece for so many years, just to end up in a landfill because someone doesn't have the room, or time to re-home it.

 

This flock of seagulls came to visit us at work in September. They stayed at the mud puddle “lake” for about a week, much to the delight of Piper and myself.

 

My Virginia Creeper was exceptionally beautiful this fall.

 

Sweet baby Declan.

 

Funny Piper Doodle catching a quick rest before she's off and running again!

 

Lot's of fall colors down at the river.

I'll cross fingers and see if this smidge of an update will post. Guess if you're seeing it, it worked!

TTFN, Teresa 🙂

 

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Good Company

Look at this pretty little lady that came to share a gift with me.

Right outside my kitchen window, I got to watch the whole, beautiful process of her (and her mate) hatching and rearing their brood. Five perfectly blue eggs, where normally a robin lays only 4. I watched anxiously to see if all five would hatch off.

I stealthily checked each day when she was away from the nest so I wouldn't stress her. It only took a quick peek out my kitchen window to gage the progress. And soon enough…..

Two eggs left, so I kept a close watch to see if they'd hatch.

Four of the 5 hatch, and the funny thing is, the fifth egg just disappeared from the nest! I can't imagine what happened to it – I checked the ground beneath the nest and never did see the egg. So, 4 sweet little babies, and they were this big and feathered just a few short days after they hatched.

A couple more days and they are much more alert and aware of the happenings around them. Their parents spend a lot of time finding food for them. They also spend a lot of time fighting off the wicked awful magpies, who will eat the eggs as well as babies if they get the chance. I am not a fan of magpies. They are very pretty and extremely smart, but noisy, obnoxious, and ruthless.

 

They grow so rapidly that soon the nest is quite tight for them, and is literally overflowing, as they dangle over the nest edge to cool off. Two of them are a fair bit larger than the other 2.

Just a few more days, and the 2 larger chicks fledge. That really surprised me as I assumed they all left the nest at the same time. But nature is very ingenious. This worked perfectly because one parent tended to the fledged chicks, and the other parent kept feeding and tending the 2 smaller ones that remained in the nest.

The 2 smaller remaining chicks.

Only a couple more days of toting and fetching by the parent to the remaining 2, and they were all caught up in size to their siblings.

When I got up this morning and peeked out the window, this is what I saw. I will miss the daily adventure of watching this little family, but feel so blessed to have been able to witness the whole process. And, let me tell you, after having raised a few baby robins when I was a kid, it is a much easier job to watch their parents do all the work! My poor mom got the job of chopping up worms and feeding the babies my brother or I found on the ground because they had been unlucky enough to have been dislodged from their nests by some mishap all those years ago! I guess we must have been squeamish kids; we'd fetch the worms but Mom got the job of chopping and feeding. It was mighty handy having a “Dr. Doolittle” for a mom. She did a great job, and we raised and released several baby robins.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Lots Going On!

 

These big Ravens are really entertaining to watch while I'm at work.

We had a week of high 70's, low 80's temps. I was contemplating hooking up the little swamp cooler at work because it was getting pretty toasty in the afternoons. Glad I didn't jump the gun…..cuz after our tropical week, we were back to wearing parkas and cranking up the heaters. Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!

A few days of cold and sloppy, then back to sunny Spring. Great traveling weather for a much anticipated event –

My big little son finally reached the finish line on his 4 long, hard years of college education. Bless his heart. He graduated on Saturday and, thank the Good Lord and all the Saints in Heaven, started a wonderful job the following Monday! And right where he hoped to be, here in Montana, in the middle of all the things he holds dear – skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, camping, and all the other treasures our area has to offer. Next hurdle is finding an affordable apartment, which is a trick these days, but thankfully he can commute from here for now, and can grab the right one when it pops up.

It was a nice graduation ceremony and a pretty day for a road trip.

 

Canyon Ferry lake was a pretty sight to take in; water so blue, and only a boat or 2 to be seen. Not many campers yet. They all come out of hibernation on Memorial Weekend.

We got to go to a flea market at the civic center in town a few weeks ago.

Not lots of stuff there, but it was fun looking.

 

 

That kind of starts the season off for rummage sales, auctions, and other fleas around here. I found only this “it's so ugly it's cute” 50's dolly that I got for the Cowboy and Indian bedroom.

We hope to go to a GIANT flea market they are having in northwestern MT later this Spring. We need to outfit the cabin kitchen, and I hope to do an unfitted kitchen with antique pieces for cabinetry. So, hopefully we will be able to hit the jackpot at this sale, and not have to worry about buying from antique stores and paying those inflated prices. And Bruce reminds me, a scenic, much needed road trip is always good for the soul! I fret when I have to go anywhere, but this time should be easier because the wild woollies are coming with us (which might be a fiasco in itself), and my big little son will be home to tend the antique cat, not that she needs much tending since she sleeps about 23 hours a day, but it's reassuring none the less. My good neighbor Eileen is the bestest critter sitter in the West, but it will be nice to not have to pester her. Getting gone for a few days will make Mr. Bruce very happy. He has to sort of pry-bar me out of my comfort zone. I'm one of those weirdos that likes to stay at my own little home, home on the range. I don't know how anyone could blame me when you have a view like this out your kitchen window!

 

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Season of Cozy

A beautiful fall day, and Halloween is just around the corner!

Love this photo I pulled from Facebook.

 

Lovely Vermont, from our vaca there a few years ago.

 

Vermont

 

My own backyard, the Yellowstone River.

 

 

 

 

 

Fall at the farm.

 

More from our Vermont trip.

 

 

 

 

 

A spooky but beautiful cemetery in New Hampshire.

 

 

 

 

A beautiful photo from Facebook, by talented photographer Kim Tashjian.

A collection of some of my favorite pics that give me a very nostalgic, fall-y feeling 🙂

Happy Halloween, Happy Fall!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Can Anyone Recommend a Good Psychiatrist?

I worked a long, long Saturday. For some reason, it just felt extraordinarily long and tiring. If I was a drinking sort of gal, I would have cracked a beer when I got home. The hitch is, I only like root beer.

So, I was driving home, looking forward to my next 3 days off, and, in the distance, could see this giant raven in the street. At first I thought it was fighting with a smaller raven. As I got closer, I saw it was a smaller bird underneath, and the raven was killing the heck out of the poor thing. I drove around the side of them and the damn raven finally flew off. When I opened my car door, there was a poor little baby pigeon laying in the street.

With a heavy sigh (and I am not exaggerating when I say a heavy sigh) I leaned out and scooped up the poor little wet, beat up, bleeding bird, stuck it inside my coat to keep it warm and secure, and proceeded home.

The thing is, I already knew what I was getting myself into. Many years ago, while I worked at the clinic, I used to take my coffee break and walk the 1 mile loop around the park. One day I was walking and there was a baby pigeon in the middle of the road. I knew if I didn't pick it up, chances were good it would get squashed by a car, or some mean kid would catch it and hurt or torment it, or some other non-happy fate would befall it. Most folks don't have a very high opinion of pigeons. So I picked it up, and packed it back to work; found a small box in the store room, stuffed it with paper towels, plopped the pigeon in there, and kept the box under my desk til it was time to go home. My boss said, “What are you thinking? A pigeon is a rat with wings!”

Well, to try and make a long story short, I took that pigeon home, kept it in my living room in a big wrought iron parrot cage I borrowed from my Mom, felt sorry for it being by itself, got an exotic pigeon from a breeder so it'd have a friend, then had both of them in my living room. Let me tell you, pigeons are not the tidiest pets to have. Built an outdoor pigeon condo where they (and I) were much happier, started buying 50 pound bags of pigeon feed, and, as luck would have it, the baby I found just happened to be a boy, the baby I adopted just happened to be a girl. You can guess the rest of the story. By the time I (We – dogs, cats, pigeons, and people) moved to my present house, there was quite a flock to tend to. One day I went out to feed and water everyone, and when I opened the door to their enclosure, a huge gust of wind caught my Daddy pigeon and blew him right out the door. He was pretty tame, and I called and called him, but the wind just carried him higher, and higher, and further away. I was just sick, and called my neighbors back at the little house and asked them to watch out for him in case he went “home”, since we had only been at the new house a few months. No sign of him. Three weeks passed, and I thought he was a lost cause. A few days later, I looked out the window, and there he was, walking on top of the pigeon enclosure. He let me catch him and put him back in with the others. I would go out and collect eggs on a daily basis, just like having chickens. The bird's condo was at full capacity. One day, not many weeks later, I decided hey, life's short, be free, and flung their door open. I figured if the Daddy pigeon could find his way back to a new home after being gone over 3 weeks, most of the remaining flock would stick around if I let them out and kept feeding and watering them. And they did. At one point I had about 32 pigeons that slept here every night, and I just loved them. They were really cheap entertainment. Always busy, walking around the yard like little chickens, pecking, gathering sticks for nests,and lots of cute other antics. I tended sick ones, packed babies that had accidentally rolled out of their nests inside my shirt to warm them up, then re-situated them, popped popcorn for a treat for them, and planted lettuce in the garden just because they liked to pick and eat it! My Daddy pigeon died a few years ago during a cold, awful winter, despite having a warm straw filled house and plenty of feed. He was 15 years old. I still had many pigeons left, but the next summer, a hawk discovered my little flock and killed several of them. The remaining pigeons started leaving, a few at a time, after that. I left the condo up for over a year in case any decided to come back. After a full year of living pigeon free, I had Bruce tear down the enclosure and houses. That was a year ago.

Here we go again.

Lord help me.

Declan isn't quite as out of sorts about the pigeon as she is about bunnies, but she'd still like to squeak it like her toys, just a little bit!

 

We've had some serious talks about how the birdie is nice……..nice birdie……..nice!

I had kept a wooden house my Dad made for overflow housing. Thank goodness. I scavenged in the metal recycling bin at work, and serendipitously found this bird cage right on the top of all the metal in the bin. Bruce jimmy-rigged this together after I had kept the pigeon in the house for a couple of days. It doesn't know how to eat seeds yet, so I was cooking and feeding it mixed grain soup with a syringe, trying to get it back on it's feet. I think it is doing better, getting stronger, so just need to keep it for a couple days and monitor it's eating, then plan to turn it loose.

So I can worry about it.

I need a brain transplant.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Sure Sign of Spring

The swans have come to the park. That's a sure sign of spring around here. They only stay a few weeks, then move on to greener pastures. I would like to know where they go. I would also like to know why their heads are rusty colored this spring!

 

 

 

It was 80 degrees on my thermometer when I got home from work today. That's plenty warm for April. Hope we don't have scorching summer; I'm a big sissy when it comes to meltingly hot weather!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it will change!

The weather has been all over the place –

Rain

Google Images

Really cold

 

Turning to record high temps, and blue skies

Google Images

Then jumping to Rip Snorting WIND!!

And back to rainy, and a bit gloomy.

But I'm not complaining. Those poor folks on the east coast; they have every right to complain with snow practically to their chins right now.

I took the poochies out to potty before bed last night. I like to stand on my front porch at night, look at the stars, and say my prayers while I wait for the dogs. It was such a warm, calm night. So quiet, and I could hear rain falling softly on my flower beds. Then I looked a little harder, and the street and sidewalks were not wet at all. I walked out into the yard, no rain at all. The sound I was hearing were worms (probably hundreds) crawling thru the leaves in the flower gardens! That, I can assure you, is not a common occurrence in Montana in February! This would explain the robin we saw when we went for a walk on Sunday. They are hardy little birds and will put up with some winter weather if they have some nice fat worms to feast on between snowstorms. Normally, tho, they don't show up here until late March.

 

She was hard to catch a picture of – I'm sure she was on a worm fetching mission.

It was was a perfect day for a walk.

There is an awesome walking trail across the river that is 2 miles round trip. This is a little resting spot for anyone who would like to set a spell and contemplate.

 

Students from the art department at Montana State University built this neat wind instrument. When the wind blows (as it always does in this neck of the woods) this pipe construction catches it and produces very soulful little songs.

There is this lovely old barn to look at as you meander along the trail.

All the bushes and trees are beginning to bud out.

Everybody was so happy to be out in the sunshine.

 

Our beautiful view as we headed back.

 

See what all that good fresh air does for a body………tuckers ya plum out!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Happy Birthday USA!

I really can't believe Independence Day is this week! When I was a kid, it seemed the 4th of July marked your summer vacation half gone. It has been so cool and wet it still feels like Spring to me! But, according to the weather forecast, we are in for a baking spell starting tomorrow. That's OK, because this little town really hops over the 4th holiday, and it will be nice to be warm and dry for all the outdoor activities. The parade is Wednesday afternoon, and the 1st of 3 nights of Rodeo action starts that night. They have a terrific high purse rodeo here that draws pretty famous rodeo competitors. People drive for miles to attend. When the rodeo ends each night, they have a phenomenal fireworks show. They set off the fireworks on the golf course, which is directly behind the fairgrounds, so the extravaganza is huge, and explodes directly above your head! Pretty intense! There is also a wonderful crafts fair the 2nd thru 4th, and I will try to catch a few photos of that to share.

Anyway, thought I'd show you some patriotic tagging we have in our little town. We have our fair share of vandalistic scribbles here and there, but this is quite serious and a real benefit to our community.

Several years ago, a couple of teenage boys asked and were granted permission to paint this mural on the interstate bridge supports. Ninth street island is a small island (with homes on it) that runs between 2 chanels in the Yellowstone River. You can drive on the island and look at the mural and also the conglomeration of art on the other support. I believe this mural represents the planting of the flag at Iwo Jima.

Pretty awesome job if you ask me. Pretty awesome kids to have enough pride in their Country to take the time out of their busy kid schedules to gift our town with this reminder. It is starting to show some wear and tear. I hope it hangs on for many years to come.

This is what is painted by various artists on the other support.

 

 

 

 

 

Very interesting!

Then, unrelated but still fun to see, off the island and down the road to the baseball fields, there is an Osprey pair nesting on a support between the ball park and the river.

I couldn't see their babies heads popping up yet, so they must still be fairly little.

 

The male was flying back and forth over the river, fishing for his young brood. He was too fast for me to catch a picture of him.

This is pretty much the view they have from their perch.

The high water is clearing off enough now that I'm sure it's nice and easy for them to spot their fish.

We are getting time off work to go to the parade, and will also be closed all day Friday (YAY! Thought they were going to stay open – bonus!), so looking forward to having a fun week! Hope you do, too!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Randomness

My itty bitty brain is just whirling – just a few weeks ago it was snowing pretty mightily around here; now it feels like full blown summer. I mean windows open, birds tweeting, grass growing inches per day summer! A few weeks ago, I was a domestic diva 🙂 tending my house, chopping wood, keeping my laundry up; now I'm back to alarm clock waking, trying to figure out what would be fastest to prepare for dinner after work, and making lists so I can try to keep up with everything that needs to be done in my very condensed at-home-time. Yup, no mo fairytale, it's back to the real world.

So, in order to try and achieve a little zen, I will share some pictures of random this and thats I have captured in the spare minutes I've grabbed over the last several days.

 

 

 

I have lots of pretty little flowers popping out. I was sad to see that I did lose many plants and ornamental bushes to this vicious winter we just escaped from – what a cold mean bugger he was!

We have had a few pretty substantial downpours over the last few weeks, and the bright side to that, along with the glorious greenness that presents itself, are these wonderful gifts from nature –

Morels! Oh, they are so yummy! Just soak them in water with a few teaspoons of salt and about a teaspoon of vinegar to dislodge any buggies trying to make a morel it's home, drain 'em, make sure they are nice and clean, cut them in half lengthwise, and drop them into a frying pan with a little butter, olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika, and a smidge of pepper. For real, they are a gourmet gift to your taste buds! My big little son went down to the river and scouted out a few, which we ate for dinner that night. The next day he went out to my folk's farm and found about a quart of them. They are shiny clean and residing in the freezer, to be carefully doled out on special occasions.

 

There were at least a dozen Western Tanangers in my yard today, flitting about, eating from the suet feeder, and having a merry time. I just love watching all the birds that come to my yard. I think this giant window we put in during the kitchen remodel was the smartest thing we've done with this house. Actually, that would probably be second to the Tulikivi.

I changed a few things around in the family room. I found a beautiful print by one of our local artists, downtown at an antique/junk store. I needed another picture like I need a hole in the head, but it was so reasonably priced I couldn't resist.

I had the frame which I'd purchased several summers ago at a yard sale, so just had to have a mat cut and was good to go. It is a Russell Chatham print. I looked thru his archives online, and I believe this one is named “March Afternoon”. I truly love his work. He has lived here for decades, and the biggest majority of his art is done of this area, primarily Paradise Valley. His lithos and oil paintings go for many thousands of dollars, so I was happy to just be able to have stumbled across a print I could afford. Any kind of affordable work of his is about as scarce as hen's teeth to find. (Sorry about the reflections on the picture – I don't know how to get around that in photography yet.)

I found the “Indian Lane” street sign at a rummage sale the week before I started work. (Don't even get me started on having missed the last 4 weeks of rummage saling – I could just cry about it!) The metal Indian head is also a rummage sale find from a summer past.

Work has begun on the cabin.

 

Yikes.

It's still chilly enough in the evenings to have to start the wood stove up.

Coming home we saw this Mama and baby. Within a half mile stretch we saw the moose, at least a dozen deer, 10 antelope (which was strange because we were still in the mountains and they usually prefer being out on the flats), and these 2 courting cranes below.

So, that's a lot of randomness for sure, and is probably just the tip of the iceberg for what the summer holds. We have a lot of irons in the fire! Guess I better stock up on Wheaties! Or spinach!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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