Parade of Homes

First and foremost, THANK YOU LORD FOR THE RAIN AND SNOW!!!!! Usually I fuss about winter coming, but this year I welcome it with open arms if it helps in getting these horrible forest fires put out. It says in the Great Falls Tribune that an estimated 1,103,252 acres have burned in Montana this summer. What a tragedy. You'll see a bit of snow in some of the pictures in this post, and I'm lovin' it!

On with the story. Every fall there is an event called “Parade of Homes” in Bozeman (and neighboring counties if the homes submitted are snazzy enough to meet the Parade's high standards). It is one of my favorite events to attend, and I really look forward to it each year. I wasn't sure I'd be able to go this year because we all have so much going on, and weekends are mighty short. But, thankfully, we were able to get things straightened around enough to be able to take in the very last day they had the homes open. There were 15 homes this year, 13 in Gallatin County, 2 in the County where I live. There are so many people milling around in the homes it is nearly impossible to get any good photos, and I'm not sure they really want you to anyway since they charge admission, and probably don't want folks showing the home photos around and maybe putting a dent in the ticket sales. I took exterior photos of my 2 favorites, just to give an idea of the awesome views they have surrounding these beautiful homes.

Look at that lovely snow!

 

 

I did snap one quick one of the living room in this home.

 

 

 

 

This home was up Paradise Valley. This particular builder always does a great job every time he's had a home in the parade. I think this is the 4th house he's built that I've been fortunate enough to see.

After touring this home, we drove back to town, then headed over the hill to Bozeman. We went thru the catalog provided with the ticket purchase and decided to pare it down a bit. We chose just the ones we thought looked most interesting, and picked 6 to tour out of the remaining 13. I was not terribly impressed this year. Most were extremely modernized versions of “farm houses”, or “traditional houses”. The outside would look fairly true to form, then you'd step inside, and eek! Holy smoke, ultra modern. Not my cup of tea by a long shot. One we went to was fairly normal, a roomy 3200 square feet, vaulted ceilings, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a modest media/theater room (some of them are vast in these parade homes), attached garage, and a tiny yard that was barely a strip on each of the 4 sides of the house. It was the most liveable for a family with children I thought (except for the tiny yard which didn't give kids much room to play), and I supposed the price would be somewhat affordable for a typical young family budget…….I was shocked when I saw it was $749,000! It is beyond me how a young family can take on those kinds of payments. And what is even more shocking is the fact that they sell rapidly! That is why the real estate market in our little town is going haywire – we are getting the overflow of folks from Bozeman that can't afford those outrageous prices. But they can pay more than most people employed in our little town, so it is driving the prices up here by leaps and bounds.

It makes me worry for my big little son. He has a good job for this area, and yet he would have to make five times his wage to afford something half as much as this “normal” home on the parade. And that is the case for most all the young adults that I know around here.

Anyhoo, the last house we saw was my very favorite. It was just a few miles down the road from Bridger Bowl Ski Resort, and the area is spectacular in every direction for views.

It was hard to get a decent photo because it was built high up on the hillside, and had a treacherously steep driveway to get up to it. The whole road, from where you left the pavement, clear to the house, was basically a glorified cow track. It made the road to our cabin look perfectly tended and groomed!

They made you park far below, then walk up the road to the driveway, then hike the whole driveway to the house. Whew! But as you can see, almost all the front of the house was windows – and get a load of the view out of said windows….

 

 

 

 

 

This is looking directly at some of Bridger Bowl's ski runs. Just a sprinkle of snow on them now; much, much more to come later!

 

Even tho we probably should have stayed home and worked on the to-do list, it was nice to take a break, see some lovely (and some interesting) homes, and get off the beaten path for a change.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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WILDLIFE

There's plenty of wildlife in our neck of the woods. Some become adventurous and decide to visit the city side of things. I've had a couple of interesting visitors over the last few weeks, both at work and at home.

This big, beautiful golden eagle showed up for about 3 days in a row at work.

It was quite content to just hang about, and didn't seem to be bothered much at all by the traffic thru the scale house.

You can see how extremely large it was in comparison to the magpie a rail below and to the left in the pic. The magpies were ganging up and trying to bully the eagle into leaving. It didn't work. A bit of a joke since, size wise, they look like they are canary sized versus the 3 feet plus size of the eagle.

It was working really hard pulling the tarp back with it's big toes, trying to find something yummy to snitch out of that garbage laden trailer. Yucky!

Probably does smell pretty tempting judging by the number of crows, magpies, and other garbage eating birds that hang about on a daily basis. The department of transportation brings in all the road kill deer and other animals for disposal, which to carrion eaters, must smell delectable!

And speaking of delectable, cat food is a gourmet treat to be had if your nose is good enough to catch a whiff of it in your nightly meanderings.

Apparently this little critter has a really good sniffer, since he/she invited itself to a snack on our front porch this last week. I thought it seemed like my kitty was eating a lot more than was possible for her, and blamed it on the big cat that lives down the street.

It's finally been cooling down really well in the evenings, so I leave the doors open until I go to bed. I lock the screen door to the front porch and leave twinkle lights (wrapped on branches in a small barrel) on for a soft night light. I was reading the other night and could hear crunching. I assumed it was Angel and peeked out the door to check on her and caught this little busybody instead. The pictures aren't good because the light was so low, but it was a sight to see. It had made itself comfortable on Angel's blankets, laying flat on it's belly with it's little feet sticking out behind it, and would pull one piece of food out of the dish at a time with it's little paw and eat it. Then take a nice long drink of water followed by some more food. This went on for a long time, and when it decided it had had enough, got up, stretched, and waddled off into the flower bed and under the porch. It must sleep under the front porch all day and come out at night to eat and mosey about.

 

It was so darn cute to watch, but now we have to be very careful to turn lots of lights on outside in the back yard (we're staying away from the front yard at night for awhile) and whistle and talk before we take the dogs out to potty before bed. It is not a fun task washing a skunk squirted dog, let me tell you.

The deer are still thick in town. I saw a doe with tiny little twin fawns standing on the side of the street when I came up the hill to my house a few days ago. And the berries have been abundant this season, so there have been a wide variety of birds in my yard lately, also.

Pretty cheap entertainment!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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In A Good Path For The Eclipse

Our little town is not too far away from the path where folks had the ultimate view of the eclipse. We were able to view about 95% coverage of the sun. Boy, people were sure wound-up about it! The eclipse viewing glasses were a major hot ticket item everywhere you looked. Just before the big day, some enterprising soul was trying to sell the silly little paper and plastic things for $25 a pair on Craigslist! One of the gals I work with came out early to relieve me for lunch (and so we could both have a nice clear view to gawk at the eclipse together πŸ™‚ ), and she read on the Internet to stack old film negatives about 8 deep and clip them together, on each end, with a clothes pin. You could hold them up like steampunk opera glasses of sorts, and take quick peeks at the eclipse in progress.

I took a few pictures while at work during the height of it, which was about 11:35 a.m. mountain time. I had read it makes the birds confused and they think it's time to bed down, but it has been so smokey here from all the forest fires in progress, the birds I saw didn't seem to notice the eclipse at all!

This was at 11:30 a.m.

This first pic was around 5 to 8 minutes from the most obscuring we would witness. The shadows were odd, and it got darkish in the scale house like before a good rain storm, but it really wasn't that dark out.

This was the height of the whole shebang, about 11:38 a.m.

I took this pic of my hand's shadow on the side of the scale house to show just how much light there still was.

 

This was the tail end of it, about 11:43 a.m. It was still odd light, but rapidly getting brighter.

Anyhoo, there is my slide show/book report on the whole get up! I'm so lucky to have a window to hang out of and take pictures where I work!

TTFN

Teresa

 

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Goodbye Farm, It Was Good Knowin Ya

I guess the title says it all. It's been a mighty difficult last couple of weeks. Twenty seven years makes for some long, hard roots to pull out. My poor folks are completely exhausted. But at least they have everything out, and hauled to the new place. There have been a number of fiascos to overcome, but they've managed. One being, the man they had lined out for over a month prior to the agreed upon start date to fence a portion of the pasture at the new place, pulled out 2 days before he was to start. He called and said “I'm not going to make it to your place – I'm just too bushed from my last fencing job, and you can understand my side.” At that point in time my Mom had a bit of a short fuse, and she really didn't understand his side (what a way to run a business, that big knot head). Boy, did she let him have it. Needless to say, he was Johnny-on-the spot 2 days later, and fencing away at the new place. They would have had absolutely nowhere to contain their little horses had he not shown up, and I'm sure she made that abundantly clear. There are too many people who have garbage work ethics these days. Or at least it sure seems like that around here.

My folks did the lion's share of all aspects of the move themselves…..and they are no spring chickens. Far too proud to ask for, or accept help, no matter how many people offered. The way all the legal paperwork shook out at the end, with the vacate date of the owner of the home they were moving to, and they themselves tied to a move date decided by the people that bought the farm, gave them exactly 5 days to move all of their worldly possessions 15 miles from the farm to the new place. They had rented a “Pod” moving container about 3 weeks earlier, so were able to box up many things and stack in the pod, which helped. But, when you move a whole 2 story house, barn and outbuildings, and farm equipment, there is a lot more than a pod's worth. Oh my gosh, that 5 day move period was a killer. Bruce and I each took a vacation day, and also went out every evening after work; and my big little son, my brother, and his son, also pitched in as best they could (as my brother and my son both work 10 hour shifts each day with their jobs). We were loading 3 trucks (cabs and boxes), and a 2 horse trailer for each trip in – and made trip after trip….after trip. Oh Lordy. And to make matters worse, they are in the middle of a huge highway construction project between the farm and town. You could expect a 15 minute wait for a pilot car each way, both coming and going. And a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

But that part's done now, and there are just a bazillion boxes to sort and unpack at the new place, more fences to build, a new barn to build, water hydrants to install, and the list goes on. Even with all that, I believe the good Lord helped them get a place that will suit their needs; with a nice little house, just enough land to support the little horses, only a couple miles from town, and best of all, the fact that they were able to nab it in this out of control real estate market we're experiencing presently.

I took a few pictures in parting, but only a few, because I was ready to bawl and didn't want to make my folks feel bad. I don't deal well with change, and this was a mighty big one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Vacation Day Morning

Enjoying the cool morning, on my vacation day.

Sitting in my porch glider, with my biggest cup full of Java, listening to the birds sing, and watching my silly puppies play. The trees are obscuring, from my neighbors, my still being in my pj's, and I'm happily flourishing on this beautiful summer morning.

So blessed!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Celebrating Independence Day!

Isn't this just awesome!

Man made fireworks competing with Mother Nature's fireworks! This is the rodeo and fireworks celebration we have over the 4th of July in our little town every year….but with a little extra kick this particular evening. I wanted to be sure and share this wonderful photo since we're not too far out from the 4th. We do have some extremely talented folks that live in our town, and I borrowed this from Facebook to share with you all.

Here are a few more shots I took myself while just moseying around close to home, over the last couple months. Since it'll be Christmas in just a few weeks, guess I'd better share the few warm weather photos I've taken (kidding!…….but not really :-/ )

 

 

The park geese with their new broods, in varying stages – some have newer fluffy yellow babies, some are 1/2 way to looking like their parents.

 

This is the Crazy mountain range.

This is about 7 miles from the cabin. Such a pretty day it was!

About 4 miles from the cabin as you top a hill and look southerly, this is the Absaroka mountain range.

 

A golden eagle in a field near the road.

And a bald eagle on a telephone pole just above the golden.

 

 

 

Hope you all are having a nice summer, and are making the most of it!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Journaling the Cabin Progress

This is going to be a dry post. I'm putting up a ton of pre-renovation cabin pics just for documentation. Mr. Bruce has been up there the last 6 weekends working like a fiend. He also struck a deal with a too busy contractor. It is so wild in this area presently, with people buying property as quickly as it hits the market, then fixing it to flip, or live in themselves, that it is next to impossible to find a decent contractor worth his salt. All the good contractors/carpenters are lined up with work for months to come. I'm sure there are plenty of shysters out there, because when it's popping like this, those shady types are drawn in like rats to grain. But Bruce has known this fellow for years, and the man is a local that has lived here all his life. He has a good reputation, and is therefore busier than the dickens. But, after a bit of skillful finagling and bartering on my Mister's part πŸ™‚ , the contractor said if Bruce will have everything lined out, and every bit of the lumber, cement, screws, nails, basically every and all supplies needed (including all the new Windows, and all the new flooring) sitting at the cabin ready to go, he and his crews will pop up there between their other big jobs as time allows. Anytime there is slack on the big jobs they're working on, or if there is inclement weather that they can sneak away from their outdoor projects and come up to work on indoor things for us, they'll shoot up to the cabin and try to bang out one project at a time. That's about as good as it gets right now for folks like us that have comparatively smaller projects. When it's chaotic like it is presently, in demand contractors don't want small jobs. Especially when they have to trek clear up into the mountains to do them.

Oh, good gosh, I hope this works out!! We've been burned by carpenters before, but we've also been lucky enough to have some excellent ones do big jobs for us at our house. I just want to get the big basics done on the cabin, then Bruce and I can tackle the smaller, more manageable ones. Bruce doesn't have the time, or number of men available that are needed to get windows and doors installed, the wood flooring laid, or the walls put in. He will still be doing the majority of plumbing and electrical himself, as well as all the trim and finish work; and together we can install the wood “tongue and groove” panels on the walls, sheet rock where needed (if we decide to use sheet rock in the bedroom and bathroom), building and rocking the new hearth for the wood stove, and installing whatever we decide to use for kitchen cabinetry. I can paint, wallpaper, tile, stain, make curtains, and decorate to beat sixty without any help. But for the big, heavy duty stuff, we need a crew of men to come in and hit it hard to get it done in short order.

Once the new windows are in place, we can contact the company that will sandblast the logs on the exterior (the company we looked into uses ground walnut shells to blast, then the shell dust and log dust can be left on the ground to naturally decompose). The blasting will basically sand away the discoloration and weathering, and leave a nice even tone on the logs to then stain and seal, making the exterior look brand new, hopefully.

The odd shaped windows on the top right will be eliminated. Then, all along the top, left to right under the pitch, will be framed in and probably covered with shakes, so it will be symmetrical.

 

This bay window is being replaced with a picture window. Same width and height, but flat in the wall.

 

The circular vent to the left of the window will come out as the furnace is moving to the hallway, resulting in dreaded log patching.

 

A larger window will replace the bathroom window, shown center, which will require log cutting and patching.

 

The kitchen window, left of door, has to be raised 1 1/2 logs higher, and the porch window, far left, will be eliminated. More log cutting, and filling. Not fun.

 

 

Porch floor must be laid, and an end wall built, since there will only be stairs to the front now.

 

 

This is the enclosed portion of the front porch. The 2 windows shown will be eliminated, and a big walk-in storage closet will be built, floor to ceiling across this whole end of the porch. There isn't much room for storage in the living area of the cabin, so we want to be smart with this space and squeeze every square inch to make it useful for hanging, boxing, shelving, leaning, and stacking. The window on the floor to the left came out of our kitchen at home when we remodeled and put in the giant picture window. This will be installed to the right of the front door entering the porch. We bought a nice, solid wood door with glass upper from Craigslist, saving probably $300 vs buying a brand new one. We got bids from 3 different companies on the window package we need. Only 6 windows have to be purchased, and I was shocked at the $5,500 price tag from the first company. The second company came in at $4,200. These bids were for aluminum clad wooden windows. We got a bid for vinyl windows next, which was much more reasonable (less than a third of the first bid), albeit not quite the quality we were hoping for – but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a cabin, not a full time residence. And we need to be careful not to dump in more money than we would ever be able to recoup on the little place. Having to build the new foundation, and crane the cabin to it, put a major dent in the budget right off the bat. We have to be very careful with our spending, being mindful to get the most bang for our buck. There is a very long list of things yet to do, and after the shock of the windows bids, we will have to be extra diligent in searching out the best buys. That shouldn't be hard with the decorating/furnishings (since I'm the queen of rummage saling ;-0) but building materials are a different kettle of fish.

As for the inside…..

We do have a plan roughed out. Bruce is wrangling in the plumbing right now. We're having a heck of a time trying to find the best options for hot water. We don't particularly want to go the heater tank route because, unless you plan to keep the propane furnace at 48 degrees all winter (which would be very costly) to prevent water in the tank and pipes from freezing, you must drain and winterize the tank each autumn. That means no hot water if you hope to snowmobile in for weekends in the winter. There are many tankless, hot water on demand options available, but high altitude, extreme temps, and not being there daily, really complicate the decision. I know there must be a good option because I've seen tv shows about hunting camps in Alaska where guides bring folks to a shut down cabin, walk in, flip a few switches, and they're fully functional for a week or so. They leave after minimal winterizing, basically in suspension til next trip in, which they do often, all winter long. We've researched on the internet; I even got a year subscription to Cabin Living magazine to look into that and other things, hoping to make the most informed and correct choices. We surely don't want to dump a bunch of $$ into things, just to have them be dysfunctional and have to be replaced for even more $$. Bruce has checked with other folks in our cabin community, and it seems bottom line up there is water heater tank – bite the bullet and leave the heat running; or rough it – winterize and do without hot water in the winter months. I'm sure there has to be a better, more practical option. We'll keep after it…if nothing else, Mr. Bruce is the prize winner in persistence.

 

The blue tape lines are wall placement markers for bedroom and bathroom. Bigger bed and bath than what was there before, but still mighty tight!

 

Such a dreadful mess - makes me want to pull my hair! Doesn't bother Bruce in the least.

All I know is summer is fleeting, and boy, do we have a lot on our plate! Between work schedules, my folks moving, trying to get as much as possible done at the cabin in the short season we have to do it, and regular old house chores and maintenance, we could all stand a few more hours in the day to be sure!

Anyhoo, not whining….even if it does sound like it! All these things are very good “problems” to have! And not problems at all! We just need to stay organized, and step it up as best we can.

Meanwhile, Pinterest is my friend – it gives me so much to aspire to!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Farm(s) Pending

This might well be the new “mini” farm.

Quite the view. Six and three quarters acres (80% less land than the farm), but just enough land to suffice. The house is about 1/3 less square footage to have to keep tidy and maintain. Close to town. Neighbors, but not right on top of you like living in town. Irrigated. These are the pluses.

The downside is; no barn or shop for hay and equipment storage. No small shelters for the little horses. Not a fence on the place. Close to the highway, so the 5 remaining barn cats coming with will have to be contained in some type of little building with a tall, screened in outdoor area, to keep them safe. (Being barn cats, they have always roamed free at the farm, so this will be a tough adjustment for them.)

These all are the realtors pictures. The inside is lovely, but quite small (compared to my folks farmhouse). But, that's all part and parcel of downsizing. It was a lucky break to have been able to JUMP on this place hours after it was listed. My folks tied it up as quickly as was humanly possible. The realtor had multiple, multiple inquiries in the days following the listing of this property. It's going to be a lot of work to get it ready to house all the critters, but that's part of the give and take. The land is pretty much a blank canvas. They are already contacting fencing companies, contractors to build outbuildings, moving companies, etc., just to get on the lists. I mentioned before how crazy wild it is right now with real estate in this area, and all types of companies involved are booked up weeks to months in advance.

So, God willing, it's upward and onward. Real estate dealings are are fragile and fickle; fingers crossed this will go thru without a hitch. I guess now would be the time to start stock piling super potent vitamins and coffee….the whole family's going to need them to get this show on the road!!

I'll take a minute now for some more sappy and sentimental sharing of farm pics. The gardens are so beautiful right now, due to my good little Mom's relentless efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Clover, the tamest barn kitty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Farmward – Ho!

The saga with my folk's farm continues. It looks like this time the sale might be the real deal – possibly. It's been a long drawn out process, drug out since last fall. A couple with 4 little kids want to buy it “for sure”……..contingent upon them selling at least one of three properties they own. And then comes all the hoop jumping and red tape with appraisals, inspections of every sort, what is included in the sale, etc., etc. At least these people don't expect my folks to include furniture, pictures, garden decorations, clothes, shoes, and the family bible in the sale, like the last yahoos did. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much!) This potential buyer did want them to throw in the backhoe with the sale, which may, or may not, be considered. Depends on what sort of place my folks can find to move to. If they have to start from scratch with a place with no fences or outbuildings, my Dad will need all his equipment to get the job done. Hopefully a place will come up not needing everything from soup to nuts to get ready, before they can move in. I cannot tell you how absolutely insane the real estate market is in this area right now; very little to be had, and a king's ransom in pricing for what is available. We've all been searching like mad, trying to catch things that come on the market immediately, as homes and land are snapped up, literally, within hours after being listed.

I stopped at the farm on the way back from the cabin the other day. I feel like you can't soak in enough of the place, when you know the chance is great that it will belong to someone else soon.

 

My Mom brought me upstairs to see this cactus type plant that is in full bloom.

 

I got to visit all her babies while we were upstairs.

 

 

And get an upper view of the gardens from the bedroom balcony.

 

It will be a big adjustment for the little horses to have only a very few acres to live on. Hopefully it won't bother them too much. They are an elderly lot; the oldest one being about 34 years old, the youngest I think around 22. There are 15 left, and my folks just want to keep them fed and happy til they go to the happy pasture in the sky. Their whole house search is revolving around finding a place where it will work for their old horses, and old barn kitties. Some people call that crazy, I think it's mighty admirable.

 

From last fall

 

Hopefully the geese will get to stay on the farm, as many of them are 30+ years old

It's a beautiful place, and I sure hope the new people will love and care for it as much as my folks have. It will be nice for their little kids to grow up there; the perfect setting for playing and memory making.

As stressful as it is, I guess we just have to remember that the good Lord has a plan for us all, and we need to keep the faith and move forward knowing it's in His hands.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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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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