All posts by Laura

Laura is Nora Roberts' personal publicist. She can be found on the Nora Roberts and JD Robb Official Fan Pages on Facebook as well as on Instagram.

Montana – Day 17 into Departure

Our last day starts cool and misty. That mist adds a nice, secretive quality to the forest, and the deer that graze through it.

Misty morning/BW

Since we’ve got a trail ride midday, we opt to clean up the grub we have in the cabin. I’m not after much as I feel like I’ve grazed like a deer since we got here.

BW comes back from a drone excursion with a story. He met Kyle, a rancher, and the buffalo (bison if you’re technical) are his. The big black steer who hangs with the white steer and other cattle is Tyrone, a beefalo. Tyrone was the result of a buffalo and cow getting through the fence to each other (true love!) and mating.

I’d never heard of a beefalo, but apparently it happens. Hey, you love who you love, right?

It feels cool enough, not unpleasantly so, for layers for that afternoon ride. But by the time we walk down to the big paddock for our horses and wrangler, it’s warmed enough I tie my jean jacket round my waist. Jason does the same with his hoodie, and BW ditches his vest.

Evan will be our guide, and after a few minutes of getting-to-know-you, and asking about our riding experience, he chooses our horses. So many pretties hanging out by the paddock fence, most just dozing the afternoon away.

Ready to saddle up with Evan/BW

BW gets Traveler, a big white dude for the tall dude. I get Doc—another white but not so big, and Jason gets the pretty paint, Lonnie. Right before I mount, Evan let’s me know Doc has a heavy mouth and likes to eat on the trail, which means I’ll have to haul his head back up.

I discover truer words.

Mounted up, we head out, and Doc lets me know pretty quick he wants snacks as we ride. I let him know pretty quick that’s a no, I’m going to haul him up. We have this little war of wills throughout.

Other than that issue, Doc is as comfortable a ride as I could ask for. Sure-footed on the narrow, rocky, often steep trail, and steady as he goes. I start out beside Evan as Doc would like to be lead horse—nope, I say, settle for second place.

It’s warm and beautiful out as we cross the road, head up, up, up into the forest to wind through it. Evan, like everyone we’ve met on the resort, is knowledgeable, friendly, helpful. He works here summers, so will—like many others—be leaving Monday to go back to college in Missoula. 

Our horses are really sweet and sturdy—Doc and I continue to pit my will against his greed for grass. He’s a strong one, so I feel I absolutely got my resistance training in. Jason’s Lonnie plods along, a bit slower than the rest. At one point Jason said he wondered if Lonnie went to sleep climbing up a slope.

We can see parts of the ranch below, smell the pines surrounding us. Steep climbs up, steep climbs down.

Halfway through I switched from Western style one-handed reins to English so I could use both arms to drag greedy Doc back up. I had a lot better luck.

We ride down to a pasture where a mama and her new foal graze. Our mounts either like to visit or know they’re soon heading back to doze as they all break into a trot.

We’re not to let our horses get too close to the fence, Evan tells us. Mama won’t like. But the baby seems happy to see us, whinnies even as he sticks close to Mama.

A more level ground ride now, warm, sunny, picture perfect. Traveler has edged Doc out of second place. And Lonnie is content to bring up the rear.

At one point Doc tries to nibble at a rock. I point out to him, That’s a rock. His answer is to turn his head toward me and try to nibble on my right boot. 

I think he grinned.

Back we ride, with everyone but Doc stopping by the water troughs to drink. He just wants to get back into the paddock.

When I dismount, he’s content to let me pet him until it’s time for Evan to lead him away.

In the paddock now are two kids—a girl of maybe eight or ten, a boy surely no more than five or six. Both are mounted and know what they’re doing.

The little boy’s horse wants to go to the fence, but his pint-sized rider just pulls him back. 

We take more pictures, bid the horses goodbye. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of this beauty that belonged to one of the wranglers. When I commented, Evan said it’s called a Gommoragh (sp) Paint. 

We walk back home to relax a little (or pack a little) before our last dinner.

Experience tells us it’ll get cool—very—before the meal’s over, and since we’re going to eat outside, to bring jackets.

Alice is our server again tonight, and has reserved a pod (cabana) for us with nothing but that beautiful view in front.

After we order, we decide to try one of our family panoramas in The Yard. A little staging, a bit of blocking, and we have another tradition in our bag.

The most ambitious pano yet.

Dinner, wonderful as always with a sky that finally gave us at least a little of the fabulous Montana sunset.

Now it’s cold, even with the heater in our pod. Inside we go for all—but me—to order the final dessert. 

No one leaves hungry or disappointed.

A ride back under a 3/4 moon.

More packing before bedtime.

No working out in the morning on departure day. More packing, checking, organizing, packing. We’re leaving with more than we came with—and I’m astonished when I find I can actually pack my new boots.

We opt to take the evil puzzle apart and leave it for the cabin or the staff. 

Kat and BW have their last breakfast, bring back some bacon. I do the Mom Check on the cabin probably a dozen times. Pretty sure we left nothing behind.

#Food-a-rama

The driver and the transportation supervisor (she needs a ride into the airport to pick up a van) arrive so we can load up. LOTS of loading.

Another pleasant, informative trip to the airport. We learn for Christmas, the resort goes all out, even putting antlers and a red noses on the Kias, Christmas trees in every cabin, white lights on the outside trees. 

That’s the spirit!

Unload at the airport, load onto the plane.

We’re flying home as I write this, should land in MD in about two and a half hours. Supposed to finally be clear weather at home. Reports are that it rained nearly every day while we were gone.

It’ll be great to see our dogs—and I know Kat and Jason missed their cats. It’s always nice to settle in at home again, even after an absolutely terrific vacation. 

And this one surely was.

Nora

In the final #randomkatness for this vacation:

Finished!/Kat

For everyone who has asked, our intrepid travelers stayed at The Resort at Paw’s Up.

Transition Day

I expect one last Montana wrap up post in my inbox today or tomorrow.  (There were 20 new photos in the shared album when I got up this morning — the usual indication of a great day.)  But since our intrepid travelers gather their gear and head east today while I move Control Central from Maryland to the beach this is a quick break.

Nora could stick to her habit and write up the post before they leave, but I’ll be on the road for six hours starting at 10 am my time so the likelihood of a Montana Day 17 post is tomorrow.

While it’s hard to get over post vacation blues, the fall swings into action with Leverage in Death (and Nora’s fall trip to NY) and doesn’t stop until Of Blood & Bone is in your hands.  And, of course, in between the two we’ll meet Young Master Pong Aufdem-Brinke.  

I’ll pop in with some beach photos over the next few weeks along with regular updates on books and such.  If you’re curious about what I do when Nora’s not around you can follow me on Instagram here.  BTW, don’t forget we now have official IG accounts:  Nora Roberts and JD Robb.  I’m having great fun regramming readers photos of books and where they read them on both pages.

Plus, coming really, really soon: the Of Blood & Bone excerpt.

See you on the beach side! (I’ll be working in the chair to the right.)

Laura

Montana – Day 16

Brisk morning, chilly enough for a fire. And a wise decision to postpone our trail ride. The rainy day cleared the haze and put the mountains in sharp relief again.

Since it’s chilly, and we’ve got that lovely fire, Kat and I tackle the evil puzzle. We can’t let it win! We break for lunch, sort of, here in the cabin. Vacation time’s winding down, so let’s eat what’s in the fridge.

And at last, even through all the dark moments, we have victory over this *&%%$!sonofa&^##!! Puzzle.

It may be evil, but it sure is pretty.

Evil conquered!/NR

Time to kick back—and time for Kat to work on her cow painting—before it’s time to clean up for our last barbecue in The Yard. It’s still chilly by my standards so I layer it up, pull on warm socks and boots.

It may be brisk, and the sky layered, but the air’s clear and sharp so the view’s like a painting. And we have Mudslide Charlie for entertainment again, and that’s a definite plus.

Food, food and more food, but jeez I’m not used to eating all this food! I have to lay back a bit tonight, enjoy some wine, the music, the view—and the heater the lovely Alice—our waitress- sets up by our picnic table. Ahhh.

While we sit, a couple of cowgirls gallop by in the near field, one leading a third horse. Man, that are beautiful to watch, riders and horses. They end up riding right through The Yard, to the delight of all (especially the kids), then tethering the horses on the other side of the fence. 

Horse parade/BW

Eventually I walk over to say hi to the horses. One just stares at me like: Whattaya want? The second—with an amusing to me 57 tag on his bridle—allows me to scratch his head, pet his flank. The last gives me a well, maybe glance, and is fine with stroking on his pretty neck.

As the band rocks, the paella guy is grooving whenever he’s not dishing it up for guests. One of the cowgirl leads one of the horses by, and a little girl with equine fever all over her joins her. I can tell they’re having a serious horse conversation.

A smaller girl stands in front of the stage, staring at the female singer—I think imagining herself in the spotlight. Then she happily dances.

We’d hoped for a sunset, but it doesn’t look promising—and its getting cooler yet. We head back to our fire, have a quiet rest of the evening.

Workout’s done. Must start to organize soon as this is our last day. All but Kat will hit the trail this afternoon, and we’ll have one last dinner at the main resort.

Warmer today, but I think fall’s coming early to Montana.

Nora

#Food-a-rama

In today’s #randomkatness:

Kat

Montana – Day 15

Back in a former life, I was into crafting. I sewed—even made little overalls, with flies, for my boys—I embroidered, did crewel and needlepoint. I did macrame, canned jellies, refinished furniture. I was, basically, insane.

My theory is I was searching for my creative outlet, so when I found it in writing, I gave all the other up without hesitation.

But hey, vacation here, and they offered an apothecary class. Kat and I jumped in!

We walk down to the yoga studio at Spa Town—nice walk, cool morning—where Simone (of the glorious facial) would guide us through the creating of fragrant lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs.

Just Kat and me in the class in the glass-walled studio. 

We pick molds first, and both of us go for the rose pattern for the lotion bar. Pretty! Since it’s just the two of us, Simone has us double the recipe, then we can add color—Kat and I both combine the blue and red, hers for a lovely lavender purple, mine more pinky, then scent. So many delicious essential oils to choose from. I can’t resist the blood orange. Then, once Simone melts the mix,  we have choices of pine needles, lavender, rose hips to crumble in, stir up before we pour into the mold.

Fun! And into the freezer with our creations.

Now we have a recipe for lip balm and little clear tubes, a little metal box. More color—we both end up with a kind of blush that looks pretty in the bowl, more essential oils. Melt it up, into a little lipped beaker to pour. While these set up, we’re onto body scrubs.

All the while, that view’s right out there through the wide glass walls.

Fine, fine sugar and salt, lots of those herbs for the scrub. I stick with the lavender and rose hips, Kat adds some pine needles. Stir, stir in a little white bucket, add more as you wish. Then the oils.

Here I reach for what I thought was the blood orange, but whoops wintergreen. Whoa, that’s pretty minty. Simone helps me tone that down with the orange, some lime, tangerine, grapefruit. It’s still minty, but now more interesting. And definitely what I’d call alert. Kat’s is lavender, and very soothing, relaxing.

Into little jars, with a label on top for the name.

In an hour, we’ve made lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs—so much fun, and easy if you just have the ingredients. 

Apothecary class results/NR

Everything smells so good! We walk back pretty pleased with ourselves, even though it’s starting to rain a little.

We meet up with the guys for lunch. Raining more seriously now, so Jason skips his walk and we get an inside table. Good thing as the wind picks up, and the rain beats. They’re got a fire going in the dining room, and the buffet holds many choices. Fish and chips for me! And an arugula and berry salad that was mighty fine.

Hot chocolate’s pretty popular on this damp day where the temp’s barely nudging 60.

We—or should I say the intrepid Kat—builds a fire back in our cabin. It’s a snap and crackle comfort as Kat and I attack the evil puzzle. Slowly, slowly, progress is made.

Warmth/j a-b

Mama-to-be breaks off for a nice long bath with her own body scrub. Time to just relax by the fire, let the rain and wind have their way.

Dinner time, so I need to figure out what I have that’ll be warm enough to step outside again. Why not make use of Old Gringo Lavender boots? I wear them with warm, soft socks made by the creative Kat for me last Christmas. Cozy feet always make a difference.

Big fire in the big hearth in the dining room. Wine, soup, salads, eggplant parm special for BW and Kat, chicken fingers (GREAT bbq sauce) and fries for me and Jason.

Family by the fire/BW

I can’t handle dessert, but others can. Kat makes a special request. The baby is craving the world’s smallest sundae. And they come through with a little scoop of vanilla in a sorbet cup, chocolate sauce, whipped cream. And a cherry on top!

#Food-a-rama

Back home and into pjs. Puzzle is definitely coming along, but it’s got a long way to go! I finally give it up, but Kat’s still at it.

And this morning I see the separate work she’d been doing, big chunks, finally found their connection to the whole. Whee!

Closer to evil puzzle domination/NR

We had horseback riding for those of us who aren’t pregnant scheduled for this morning, but it’s too cold for us greenhorns. We’ll change that to tomorrow when it’s warmer. 

Workout’s done, and ended with my man Rodney Ye and some lovely yoga. I’m going to join Kat at the puzzle for a bit. If I get caught up so be it. If not, I may write for an hour or two.

Our last barbecue in The Yard tonight.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

Potential Kat toys/Kat

Note from Laura:  For those of you who mentioned the misaligned photos and captions in the posts, my first suggestion is to see if there’s an update for the WP app for your device. The main complaints have come about devices, but not just ipads or Androids.  My guess is that as WordPress updates the platform, some of the apps may be lagging behind.  I will continue to monitor comments and see what I can learn from the WP community.  Stay tuned. 

Montana – Day 14

A late start (what will be Day 15), at least for me. Waking up just past eight is like the middle of the day! Part of the reason was processing Infinity Wars, but that’s for later.

Artful pano selfie —  please note sign by NR.
Photo by j a-b’s phone.

Kat and I decided to hit the Outpost to finish off a little shopping in the morning. A nice day, a bit hazy so the far mountains rise under a thin curtain. We walk over—or mosey at that’s our girl’s speed right now. Only more pleasant. BW heads over to work out, Jason finishes up some stuff at the cabin—and we’ll all meet up.

We pass the horses—and a rooster crows. Hey, a little late today, pal. Gorgeous black horse, sweet, sleepy dog, strutting rooster. An entertaining stop on our walk.

They have new stuff in the shop, so we must see everything! Kat’s mission is boots, but alas, swollen pregnancy feet cause a serious issue. Even with short boots, zippered boots, larger size boots, though the  girl who helped us tried really hard. Best to wait on these until after baby. Which is a shame as several pair were pretty terrific.

I’m not after boots. I have a pair of cowboy boots I’ve had for years that serve very well for those rare occasions I want them, and are wonderfully comfortable.

But…..When there is a pair of cowboy boots in a color billed as Old Gringo Lavender—and the display pair is MY size, what can I do? It’s almost an obligation, really.  So what I can do is buy a pair of Farm To Feet socks (adorable and warm and comfy) to check them out.

Old Gringo Lavender/NR

They soon become mine. [See note from Laura.]

I also find (or Kat finds for me) a cute little dress, with pockets! Too short for a dress for me, but as a tunic over leggings, wonderful.

We have a good time looking at the leather cuff bracelets, and Kat finds one that fabulous for her. Search for a couple of gifts, and find those.

Then the guys show up, so it’s time for lunch.

Lunch this time out means a Huckleberry margarita, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. So I have two before lunch is over. Another grilled cheese for me. Nice and sunny and warm on the porch.

#Food-a-rama time!

Jason gets his walk back, but I’ve hit my goal and ride.

Now there’s porch sitting time, and puzzle (evil puzzle) time. A lot of doing not much of anything for the rest of the afternoon.

BW shows off his pictures of a doe and her fawn who came right up to the glass walls of the gym while he worked out. We spot a few more just grazing in the high grass beyond the cabin. Then I see one bounding—God, so pretty—just bounding along too fast for me to fumble out my phone for a shot. 

Fawn/BW

I hear a hawk call—something else we hear off and on during the days here.

It’s dinner and a movie night at the cabin. Lots of left-overs to be heated up, dished up for a nice meal on the back porch. 

Our tech guys (J&K) are hooking up a laptop to the loft TV to stream Infinity Wars. J&K have already seen, but Kat is anxious for my reaction and take once I have.

We have big chairs, big sofa up there, so it’s really comfortable.

I don’t want to do spoilers, but I thought the movie rocked (huge Avenger’s fan, and comic book reader since childhood here), and the ending was WHAT??? But actually not only made sense (there was definite foreshadowing) but made a really brilliant story arc from the very first Avengers movie.

I’m very anxious to see where they go (I think I know) from here. Have to wait till next summer.

Due to processing the movie, it took me awhile to fall asleep. Probably why I slept late.

Got a solid, slightly shorter workout in as Kat and I had an Apothecary class over in Spa town.

I’ll detail in the next blog, but will say we had a great time.

Cold and rainy today so writing this (after lunch) in front of the living room fire.

Nice.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

S’mores personality test
Caption by Laura/Photo by Kat

Note: Was there any doubt on this??? ~Laura

Montana – Day 13

What to do after blissful spa services? Maybe puzzle some, and hit the leftovers for a smorgasbord of a lunch at home. 

Clearly, we picked an evil puzzle that changes the shape of its pieces on its chuckling whim. But we persist. (Mostly Kat persists). Progress is painfully made.

Puzzle of evil/NR

I finally give it up for a bit, plan to read or check in with the world. And conk for a solid hour. 

BW actually wakes me up as it’s time to get ready for the Long Table dinner. I’m one groggy napper and stumble around slapping makeup on my blissfully facial’d face before figuring out what the weather might be so I put on something that won’t be too hot, too cool.

In the end, since we adjusted our shuttle pick-up time, BW, Jason and I have time to walk to the Outpost for the shuttle. This is a good thing for me as the walk and the Diet Pepsi I glug as we go finally wakes me up.

And oh, the pretty evening adds to it.

Kat drives the car around, and our timing is once again pretty solid as we arrive all at once.

We shuttle over with a woman and her two kids, and in conversation it comes out she and I both grew up in Silver Spring. Small world indeed.

It’s a ride down narrow, bumpy ranch roads where those shuttles coming back and our shuttle going to have to jog for pull-outs to make room. Following the river again, and those fields, those forests.

It’s easy to see why they picked the spot they did, not only because it’s gorgeous, but it’s very open. And when they say Long Table in Montana, they mean Long Table.

The scene/NR
Long table/j a-b

Lots of people there already, but plenty of chairs at the table so we snag ours alongside our shuttle companions. 

We’ve got a couple of bars, a hot band, tables of food, booths with more—samples of bread, honey, oils, cheeses all local. 

Beef tenderloin, paella, hot dogs (LONG ones), salmon, potato salad, green salad, Caesar salad, coleslaw. Name the fancy picnic food and we’ve got it.

#Food-a-rama

Mudslide Charlie, the band, keeps things moving. We’ve got a lead female singer who has solid pipes, and plays the washboard—fascinating—and the guitar. We’ve got a sax player who also plays harmonica. The drummer, the bass player, lead guitar. It’s R&B, which makes me very happy. 

Mudslide Charley Band/BW
https://www.mudslidecharley.com/

People stream in all evening. Kids play soccer on the rise above the tables, or they play by the river. Lots of cowboy hats, lots of boots.

Kat concedes to the bump, so she and I shuttle back. The guys will stay for another set.

We shuttle back with a couple and their three kids. The youngest and his mom are in the row with me. Dad and the two older are in the back.

Mom and the little guy have a nice conversation about getting showered up as the kids played hard in the dust. In the back the two older kids are bickering some. Dad keeps telling them to stop, forbids them to play together, threatens punishments. Mostly they ignore or argue with him, and he argues back.

As I’m listening, I wonder why an adult parents argues with a child. Or tolerates being told NO by a child. (NO, I’m not taking a shower. YES, you are. NO!) At one point they were all quiet, and suddenly he says: I told you not to play together! No videos for a week.

And I think: But they were finally quiet, WHY did you start them up again? So we’re whining and arguing, then comes the negotiation.

I believe in bribery where kids are concerned. I believe in explaining the whys and why nots. Negotiation? Hey, this is no democracy here. I am the benevolent dictator of your world. Negotiate with a kid, the kid will run you over and back again.

Which is exactly what happens by the time we arrive back at the Outpost. Videos, etc are back on because the kids claim they behaved for the last five minutes.

I also note that Mom stays out of this and simply continues to engage the younger child on the ride. Younger kid is perfectly happy to watch and comment in amazement on the red ball of sun sinking in the sky.

An interesting dynamic.

Kat and I have a nice, peaceful drive back from Outpost to cabin.

Then there’s that damn puzzle, just sitting there taunting us.

We work it awhile, and the guys come. The floss-dancing kid came back for an encore tonight after we left. I’m sorry we missed him.

Bedtime.

Workout done, and Kat’s back on the puzzle. I may cave and join her awhile.

Tonight is movie night at home. We’re streaming the latest Avenger movie, which BW and I haven’t yet seen. So room service and a movie for our Sunday night.

We’ll have to see what’s going on between now and then.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

Zinnia/Kat

Montana – Day 12

It’s repetitive to say we had a beautiful day, but I’ll take repetitive beauty on vacation. Hot, but breezy, which is my kind of perfect.

After workout—and a slice of bacon BW and Kat brought me back from breakfast, it’s that damn puzzle. The puzzle’s absolutely beautiful, but the pieces are somewhat loose which makes being sure the right piece goes in the right place a bit frustrating. Kat’s making considerably more headway than I am.

Even though she and BW drove off to this tiny little town near here, population about 500, where you can rent a teepee, for instance if you need a spot for the night.

I think I got three pieces in the whole time she was gone!

It’s paint night, but since it’s about three miles away, near one of the camps (glamping) sites by the river, they send us a guide car. Pretty drive, rough roads, winding river, pine forests, open fields.

Our tables are already set up right by a bend in the river, down a rocky, sandy beach. It’s glorious. I find another rock for my rock pal Colt. A pretty pale blue stone.

The river gurgles over rocks, pines rise up, then there’s that sky—a little overcast at the moment with a 75% chance of rain.

Danielle sets us up with our wood paint boards, our palettes, our oil paints and walnut oil to thin.

Palette/BW

It’s so pretty, so breezy, and a lot of fun.

I like painting the river (note: though the river is brownish green we all end up painting it blue!) I realize too late I should’ve done more sky before swiping in my cartoonish trees, but oh well. Jason’s beside me, BW beside him, Kat on the other side. I decide we’d sit in order of need for stability as it’s a little sandy slope.

Painting encampment/BW

Jason’s colors are bold. I do like my river, but the overall result looks angry. So we have a storm or it’s night, or the artist was pissed off (though I wasn’t.) BW goes pretty bold, too. Then I make a mistake.

I step back to look at mine and glance at Kat’s.

Kat’s vision/BW

Oh man! It’s soft and gorgeous, and very European to me. It’s freaking Cezanne in Montana. Danielle has gone very abstract and colorful and lushly beautiful. Kat’s is a calm, beautiful vision of a river with a tinges of pink at the edges of the sky.

BW/Nora/Jason/Photo by BW

Thunder—and not just from my angry painting. And some rain. We have umbrellas, and paint a bit more. But I really can’t do more damage to mine. Jason and I pass ours off to Danielle.

Kat is contentedly adding fine, fine details with colors I have no idea how she made. Tiny flicks or nudges of the brush for shadows or texture.

The rain passes, and she finesses her vision.

We take pictures, thank Danielle who’s given us such a good time.

Artists and their paintings/BW’s phone

Off we go to wash paint off our hands before dinner.

Painting works up an appetite so we feast in one of the cabanas. The sky is huge and layered with the sun beaming through clouds.

I take a picture of a spirea for Laura , and see some of my favorite heliotrope. What a scent!

It actually gets cool enough by dessert that pregnant Kat wants to go inside. She’s a furnace these days, so that’s plenty cool.

Have my huckleberry dreamsickle inside, in the warm.

Evening gallery:

We decide we have a game of cards in us when we come back. We use the loft as the puzzle, even on its puzzle board, takes up the table downstairs, and why bother.

Another game of hearts. Both Kat and I get hands in the early stages where trying to run is just how it has to be—even though, in both cases, we know one card can screw us.

And it does, both times.

The only successful run of the night is Jason’s—and he wins this match fairly handily.

A good, full, happy day ends.

Workout bright and early as it’s Spa Day for our party. We all have eleven o’clock treatments. I’m now still in the bliss from one of the most incredible facials ever. Simone transported me during that lovely, lovely 90 minutes.

Spa village/NR

All but Kat walked up and back—and walking back was the right choice or I’d be asleep!

We’re going to forage for lunch right here.

Tonight’s Long Table night at the resort. That should be another nice—and filling—cap to a good day.

Nora

#Food-a-rama

Kat

In today’s #randomkatness

Cowboy pillow/Kat

Montana – Day 11

Another pretty day in the west as we head off to Garnet Ghost town. It’s not far, but it’s back windy, windy roads where the land rises and falls—lots of rises.

Garnet/j a-b

You have to wonder why people made a town back there. Easy. Follow the gold. The river winds, too, and panning for gold led settlers to this isolated, hilly, forested spot.

They’ve faithfully preserved cabins, the big hotel—which was pretty damn fancy in its day—the saloons, always a big draw—the general store, the stables, the smithy.

We’ve been here before, but it’s just fascinating. And considering Kat, we drive down to the handicapped parking area. Otherwise it would have been a long, difficult walk down, and a seriously arduous climb back up for her. The park official got it, let us park there. And if they needed the space, would come find us so Jason would take the car up, park, come back, go up again and bring it down (good daddy).

Fortunately, they didn’t need the space during our visit.

We stop in the little gift shop—I pick up a geode for Colt. Onto the store where once upon a time you could by a can of coffee for a quarter, shaving soap for ten cents.

I’m delighted with the table strewn with old shoes and boots. And a dress shoe prominently displayed.

We’ve got wringer washers, and incomprehensible—to me—tools, a pair of ancient skis so long the tips must have arrived five minutes before whoever wore them.

The Wells Hotel—designed and built by Mrs. Wells who married Mr. Wells, an Irish immigrant when she was 14 and he 29 (then had NINE children)—was considered the premiere hotel in the area. Three floors—with the attic level provided for miners or travelers to just lay out their bedrolls. The wallpaper—some of which was custom made—is mostly gone now. Let me just say the spirits aren’t. It felt very crowded and active in there, but if a hotel in a ghost town isn’t haunted, what’s the point?

It has a parlor, a huge kitchen area, and the rooms upstairs are certainly tiny by today’s standards. There are one or two larger rooms I imagine cost considerably more.

And the facilities only a short walk outside.

No privvy privacy/BW

The ground shoots up or rolls up, and little cabins still dot the rises. The trees cover the steep juts, giving the town that isolated, intimate feel. I love The Newlywed Cabin. Garnet was a rare thing—a family mining town with family and community picnics and events. Whenever someone got married, they could use the cabin until they built their own—or somebody else got married.

A nice boost for the happy couple.

Kat takes plenty of rests on benches, and wisely doesn’t climb too high.

Garnet gallery:

We get back a little late, and decide to grab food from the buffet and take it home. They’re great about this, have take-away boxes, so we have a little post-day trip lunch at our own table.

Time for Mama to rest.

I start a new book. Decide quickly it’s just too hot to read outside, but I have a nice bed to stretch out on while I relax with a book.

Refreshed, Kat’s ready to start the puzzle we picked up in Missoula. Hey, I’m game.

This one’s 1500 pieces, and HARD! I can’t remember having a frame take me so long to put together. Lots of lovely but blending colors. This one’s going to take awhile.

But it’s dinner time. I’m still full from lunch, but off we go (Jason on foot). I work up a little appetite wandering around taking pictures of flowers, and the big berries (?) on a very cool tree.

Spiky purple/NR

But even with that, I decide I can only manage a salad—and fries. Always room for a few fries.

They are delish.

Today’s #Food-a-rama

Not much of a sunset—the sky went soft and blurry, with a tint of rose. Dusk lingers while we finish the meal. But why not have dessert?

Hazy sunset/Kat

Well, if you insist, I can eat a scoop of sorbet. Which is also delish.

It’s cooled off enough I walked back to the car for my jacket before dessert. And now, ready for home, it’s night, and there’s that slice of moon, with Jupiter and Venus bright.

We have so many trees at home—comes from living in the woods—that I rarely see so many stars. It’s a treat.

Back for another shot at the puzzle. Whew! I’m on a purple area that has a zillion shades. Kat worked on a green area—a zillion shades. She is far more advanced than me.

Now workout’s done, and Kat and BW are back from breakfast—I think Jason on foundation work, and BW’s heading down to the river to take some photos. Kat’s already at the puzzle. I may have to give that some time.

Tonight, we paint!

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness:

Le stove/Kat

Montana – Day 10

It’s a good day at home with this and that to do through the morning. One that started off cool, and heated up strong by noon.

Following routine, Jason and I walk over for lunch. Spaghetti and meatballs on the buffet? Alrighty then. Just an easy-breezy fuel-it-up time on the porch.

Back for Kat to take a little rest, for me to catch up on email, etc. After I think about reading, then conk for nearly an hour. I am so not a nap person, but hey, it’s vacation!

We have a looked-forward-to private event for late afternoon—waiting for the best light.

It’s pregnancy photos time!

Kat has four outfits and visions for each look. I help—at her request—picking out accessories. I want an Asian Goddess of Fertility look for the black, lacy, belly-exposing gown—where Jason wears a pair of Asian-type black PJs.

Our photographer (BW) has picked a spot in the side yard, so we get started. She looks amazing—and my boy doesn’t look so bad himself. I play ass’t, and when I remember to get my phone, take some shots of the shoot.

BW at work/NR

From there we move inside, and the resort—as requested—delivers beautiful flowers. More shots in a high-backed leather chair, with flowers.

Costume change!

Now we go for romantic and classy in a white robe with Jason in a gray shirt. During the change, our photog angles a bench on the front porch. Our parents-to-be look just terrific, and the light is excellent. This is so soft, pretty, romantic.

Dreaming/NR

Next change!

White lacy gown—bride like, especially with the addition of flowers. These are so sweet! I keep taking shots of the shoot, or try my own angle.

Mama in waiting/NR
Photo by NR

For the crescendo, we need one more costume change—and props. This set’s pure Kat and Jason.

Plaid shirts, jeans, Kat in pigtails. And Jason holding a watermelon to mirror her belly. Such silly fun, a lot of mugging, or sober American Gothic type faces with the mountains in the distance as the backdrop.

Classic/NR

We’re going to have so many keepers.

Job well done/BW

We’ve run late, so pull it together and head to dinner. Glad I brought a jacket as the sun’s down before we finish, and it’s very cool again.

Pretty, pretty night—crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus very clear in the sky.

At home we hook up the laptop to the TV to watch a slide show of the photos. Oh, yeah, plenty of keepers.

Up early to workout as we’re heading into Garnet, a nice little trip. And who doesn’t want to visit a ghost town?

Nora

#Food-a-rama

Late summer on a plate/Kat

And in today’s #randomkatness:

photo by NR

Montana – Day 9

As the guys left early for Glacier, and Kat’s doing a webinar test, I write for a couple hours after my workout. It’s just the right amount of time, and in synchronicity, Kat peeks in just as I’m finishing up to see if I want to go over for lunch.

Close it down, happily, and off we go. We do the buffet, and have a nice, easy girl lunch on the porch. Not too hot, not too cool.

Girls just wanna do lunch/NR

On the way back we spot one of the big steers right next to the fence. This time I get out to take the shot. As I do, I spot some little ducks swimming by. I tried to get a decent shot of them, but those little guys were fast!

When we come back we work out some details for the baby shower for next month. It’s getting close! We re-send some as yet unveiled e-vites, play with some menu ideas, cake design.

Now this is a fun girl time!

The guys get back. Part of Glacier was closed due to a fire, but they got to see a good chunk and have pictures to prove it.

Jason’s Glacier Album:

Bruce’s Glacier album:

It’s barbecue night! Off we go, and have a serious dinner and show. Tons of food—mmm, pulled pork with bbq sauce on warm tortillas? Yes, I believe I will.

#Food-a-rama!

We have live music to go with it, and are right next to the stage. As the band plays, a kid of about eight runs up on stage and starts flossing. He’s good, and so damn happy. The crowd starts clapping in time, and the band leader calls out: Let’s hear it for the kid!

A couple others go up, and they’re adorable, but this kid is the flossing champ.

By now mama-to-be is tired, but BW wants to stay for the next set. Kat and I start back, Jason heads out on foot, and BW says he’ll find his way when he’s ready.

As we’re leaving Kat and I see something run into high grass. Dog-sized, but it didn’t move like a dog. We slow down, and see two little fawns. So sweet!

Back home, Kat wants to relax in the tub, Jason comes along.

And we spy a gorgeous sunset out the window. Must take pictures. I grab shoes as I want to go down a bit, try for another angle. And we see a bunch of nut shells on the edge of the porch by the steps that weren’t there when we got home.

The squirrels leave little piles on the porches regularly, but this is really big, and had to be made really quick. Jason decides, as we can hear the music from the main resort, there was a squirrel date. Dinner and a show. 

BW finally winds his way back, and it’s time for bed.

Workout done. It’s still pretty cool this morning. I’m thinking about booking a facial, reading a book, taking a walk later. It’s a whatever day. I think tomorrow we’ll head into the nearby ghost town, but we’re sticking close to home today.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness:

At that point where you bring your own serving tray/j a-b