Sunday, August 21, 2016

Road Trip: Part Two

Missoula was our turn around spot.  Next up was the St. Ignatius Mission.

And we'd always seen the sign for the mission but had never been there ourselves.  Turned out it was well worth the trip.

The church was built in 1891 by Native Americans using local materials and firing the bricks on the spot.

And when you enter;

There are 58 original paintings by the Italian Brother Joseph Carignano, the cook at the mission at the time.  You can read more about the artist here.  He died in 1919.

The artwork was gorgeous.  I'm not a "religious" person but every time I enter an old church or cathedral I swear I can feel the true intent of such a place.  And the intent is love and peace.

I also appreciated the Native American touches.

The Salish Lord's Mother in Native American form:

There was also a painting of the Salish Lord but I didn't get a picture.

Just a lovely church.

There are two historic buildings also on the site.  This log cabin was the home of the first missionaries and was built in 1854.  It was full of Native American relics and photographs.

Next post I'll share our visit to the Ninepipes Museum.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Road Trip: Part One

Kim and I decided to give the cabin work a rest and do some sightseeing.  Kim had heard of an alternate scenic route between Kalispell and Missoula on highway 93.  We've often driven the blue route to and from Kalispell but this time we drove this loop:
(You can see our little town of Marion to the left of Kalispell on this map.)

Our first stop was Swan Lake.  Very pretty.

We timed our trip to coincide with their Huckleberry Festival, of which there seem to be many in our area.

Very pretty setting.

Lots of interesting crafts.

I loved these journals.

They had everything huckleberry, including fudge.

We settled on sharing a cup of ice cream.

Find more info on huckleberries here.
Continuing on Highway 83 South;  lots of pretty scenery:

McDonald Peak at 9820 ft is the most impressive.

More about McDonald Peak here.

This was Saturday.
On Monday we made the decision to put Scarface down.  It was sad but it seemed the right thing to do.  He had developed cancer in a paw and if that had been his only problem it would have seemed bad enough but our new Montana vet pointed out his other issues we'd been overlooking as simply old age so we made the tough decision.  We'll miss that old fart.

On my next post I'll show Part Two of our road trip.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why We're Here

Thanks for your comment Patsi! I haven't really explained at all why we've moved to Montana.

Back in 2012 Kim and I went to Glacier National Park for our vacation.  For years Kim had been saying how he would love to own more property than our little city lot.  After that vacation we decided to get serious and start looking near that area.  Retirement was on the horizon so why not?  As it turns out that was a great year to purchase real estate and we managed to snag this place;  a log home on 10 acres with about 1/2 wooded, more than we ever expected.  We've been paying on it for nearly 4 years and just recently as housing prices soared in our area we decided to sell our (paid in full) Boise home, retire a year early and make the move.

We wanted something different for retirement and that's what we have.  Out of the desert of Boise and into the woods of Montana.

We aren't isolated.  Our house is actually in the small town of Marion, just an hour drive from Glacier National Park.

"Located just off Highway 2 near Little Bitterroot Lake, Marion was initially used by railroad workers building the railroad line into Kalispell.  Nearby is Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge, whose diverse habitat supports various kinds of birds, as well as deer, elk, moose, black bear, lynx and wolverines."

Marion's population is around 900.  Yup, it's small.  We do have a post office, a gas station with convenience store, a bar and grill with a small hotel attached, another bar, an elementary school, a volunteer fire department, a couple of retail stores (honey and misc items), and a library which is open twice a week and resides in the elementary school.  And they're all within walking distance.

Our home is older so most of the time we could spare to get up here from Boise has been spent getting familiar with the area and fixing things up inside.  Which we're still working on now.  (Getting there!)

The town of Kalispell is just 20 quick miles away to the east.  And it has pretty much every kind of shopping we could desire.

Our first major plan here is a garden.  Mostly a vegetable garden.  We know it will be a challenge in part due to these guys/gals:

There are also lots of ground squirrels so we're hoping the cats can help with them.

Our future vegetable garden spot:    (There will be a fence!)

Which will hopefully include a nice covered gazebo around which I can attempt to make a little flower garden.

Future sauna spot:

Yes, we have lots of plans.  Plenty to keep us busy.  See the little black dot in the center of the photo above?  That's Felix, one of our three cats.  They're loving it here.

Scarface and Chelsea like it anywhere we are;
(I just noticed the cat head poking above the deck on the stairs.  Must be Frankie.)

So that's it.  I hadn't been talking about this place online much because it has always seemed so far off, but now the reality has arrived.
We're ready!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Our Montana Chicken Coop

One of the first things on our list of to do's after arriving at our new home in Montana was getting our chickens situated.
This is the pen they traveled in from Boise and what they had to remain in as Kim built them a new coop and run.

They were justifiably not thrilled with these quarters.  For one thing there were no nesting boxes.

But they quickly were able to be up scaled to this:

We purchased a 10 X 10 foot kennel, which is now 10 X 15 after using the shed as one wall.  So, they were a bit happier.  He placed a cardboard box with shavings for them to use as a nesting box.  (No one used it.)  The buckets and board provide them with much needed shade.

Then he started on the indoor coop.

So now they have access to their outdoor run via this little door.  And Kim installed a bar which we slide to open and shut the sliding door while we're outside the coop!  I love it.

Now if someone (I won't name names, but Hazel, Brazil and Ginger, you know who you are) would just start laying some eggs.  Tootsie, one of our oldest, has given us four eggs in the three weeks we've been here.


"Stress can cause your hens to stop laying.  What causes them to have stress?  Allowing them to get frightened or handled too much, letting them run out of food or water, moving them to a different pen or coop or disrupting their pecking order can all cause stress."

There is a lot of talk about what causes stress in chickens and makes them stop laying.  Not much discussion about when they'll get over it.  I suppose that's up to the individual hen.  Hopefully the stressed three will start laying before winter hits.  We still need to predator proof the outside run some more;  fencing and rocks along the bottom, etc, but for now the hens have a safe place to roost at night and access to sunshine and a run.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Stuff Around Us

Went for a walk on the property and found this little nest.  Is this small enough to be a hummingbird's nest?  We've been seeing plenty especially since I put up our two feeders.  

Bumble bee on, appropriately, bee balm.

Not sure what flower this is.

And a nice sunset.