Going to Seed…

These emerald green days are hard to resist.  I could, and maybe should be inside doing any number of things; cooking, cleaning, organizing, responding to emails, paying bills, etc.  But the pull of fresh spring air and bright green grass is too tempting.  So, here we are, outside hiking the hills above our little house.  How lucky can I be?

My dad has been here for the past couple weeks, and it has been great.  He helps out with the kiddos, and takes me out to dinner a lot.  It's a real treat.  He loves his grand dudes so much, and I'm very thankful for it.

I am standing by my DIY sentiment I mentioned in this post.  I made bread in the bread maker my dad brought me!  I also made granola bars.  Both turned out fabulously.  I have to say, the bread maker rocks.  It isn't essential if you are an occasional bread maker.  But, if you are looking to cut costs by making your bread instead of ever purchasing it, and you are a busy person like me, the bread maker rules.  It's fast, easy, and can be left to do it's thing without you having to be present.

And the granola bars are really, really good.  I got the recipe here.  The good store bought kind are crazy expensive.  So, I know I'm saving a lot of money by making my own.  I'm hoping to get really technical soon, and actually calculate how much money it costs to make these things, as compared to buying them.  Maybe I'll plan a trip with all the money we save.  Or, buy a  new toilet, which is what we really need.  Uggh.

We have been doing a lot of fishing with Grandpa Eric.  We went to Harper's Lake yesterday, which is a great lake for kids fishing.  Although we did not catch anything, it was still pleasant.  Apparently, they stock the lake with trout quite often, and if you call ahead and figure out the day that they stock it, it pretty much guarantees at least one successful catch.  And, although this might seem like cheating, I'm inclined to do it.  Asa was so hell bent on catching a fish, when we had to leave, he was uproariously upset.  It sucked.  I felt bad for him too.

I've been in serious production mode, because we are going to be in the Missoula Made Fair.  It is going to require a lot time and energy, but I'm psyched to be doing it!

Happy Weekending!

All in one big beautiful spring day…

Seasons here in Montana are never neatly defined.  Especially spring.  It can be any combination of  cloudy, snowy, rainy, sunny, windy, stormy.  But, yesterday was, what I would call, the quintessential spring day; warm, sunny, whispy clouds, and a tiny breeze to blow the hair out of your face.  It was the kind of day we long for and picture in our mind in the darkest of February days.

We found this robins nest in a wooden box  hanging outside of our house right next to our front door.  Asa had made a mud and straw nest at school, and placed it in this box a few weeks ago.  Apparently the robin saw some great nest making potential in it.  She added more straw and shaped it like a perfectly sculpted bowl, and now resides in it when we are not around.  I'm not sure how long she will stick around, as every time we open the door, she gets spooked and flies away.  Andy put a worm in her nest, hoping she would translate that as a peaceful gesture.  But, I'm not sure she noticed or cared.  We sure hope she stays.

We went hiking with some friends up Waterworks Hill.  The cowboys decided to join us, just in case their were any wild horses that needed to be wrangled.  All the kids played for a long time, loving it, as were the mama's.  It's amazing how much visiting you can get done, when your kids are entertained.  I'm thankful every day for these friends of mine.  They listen to my stuff, I listen to theirs.  Sometimes they offer advice, or exclamations, but mostly they just listen, which is all I really want.  This whole child rearing thing would be a lot harder without them around.

After our lovely hike we went fishing with Grandpa Eric who is visiting for the next few weeks.  We didn't catch anything, but it didn't really matter.  It was more about being outside, near water, watching geese chase each other, and casting our hooks out into the water.

Axel's face describes how all of us felt yesterday.  The sunshine melted our troubles away.  Until about 9pm when I realized that the same sunshine that made us so happy, also gave us all sunburns.  Axel had a very red neck, despite the hat and the neckerchief I had him wear all day.  Any of you natural products lovin' mama's have good sunscreen advice?  Recommendations? What do you think about it in general?

Happy Wednesday!

Walking around, poking carcasses.

So, I have been taking some pictures of the beautiful landscape up on the hill above the Homestead.  It's called Waterworks hill or Randolph Hill depending on who you talk to.  But, this area is frequented by runners, hikers, dog walkers and nature enthusiasts at all times of the year, especially when the sun shines.

Something that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside is that I can access this most amazing trail system by just setting foot out my front door, walking lazily past the chicken coop, and climbing a steep hill that then turns into gentle switchbacks up to the top of a ridge that overlooks Missoula.  In the spring this ridge that we walk will be covered in wildflowers and bunch grass craziness.  But for now it is still brown and a bit severe looking. We have been hiking up this hill every sunny day we have been fortunate enough to be around for.  On our journeys we have found...

a deer skeleton.  Asa had many questions about where it's hair, blood, and skin were.  But mostly he just wanted to poke it with sticks.  And then we discovered...

a hill to run down, probably 30 times.  And...

a hill to sit down on after running down it 30 times.

And one of the many cool bird houses on this hill.

Oh the birds up here on the orchard and on the hill, oh-my-god, they are amazing.  I had something akin to an epiphany last spring when an entire flock of Mountain bluebirds perched on grass branches ahead of me while on a hike.  Every time I approached them they flew up a little bit further on the  trail and then perched again waiting for me to catch up to them.  This continued along the entire walk up the hill.  It just so happens that during that walk I was working out some very personal shit, and those bluebirds were answering my questions, for real.  Believe it, cuz I'm totally serious.  I'm in love with them now.  And, I did see a glimpse of one the other day.  I can't wait for them to return.

More about that later.  In the meantime, I am on a quest to save money to buy a better camera.  The one I am using I got at a garage sale for five bucks.  It's been reliable, but it's super slow and my pictures don't even begin to do this place justice.  So, I'm doing a little goal setting that will benefit anyone who cares to visit this blog.  thanks.