Category Archives: Food-a-rama

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 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

Montana – Day 8

Let me start with the end of Day Seven, the night sky and meteors. It’s chilly, so requires a little bundling up. We have a picnic table in a field which strikes as the perfect spot to try to catch the show. We make our way along the narrow path with the aid of cell phone flashlights.

It’s really dark—no moon which will only help.

Meteors aside, the sky is just breathtaking. Crisp, clear, loaded with stars. A huge black canvas studded with lights. We settle down, and whoosh—a streak of light with a shimmering tail. I’ve never seen a meteor that big, bright. Here and gone in a blink, but it made itself known.

I’m thrilled.

We can spot satellites, and far below, the red blink of a plane or two. Not sure I’d want to up there with all the traffic!

We see another, another, quick blinks and streaks of light. It’s pretty damn cool to sit in a field in Montana and watch a meteor shower, and one that adds those snaps and slips of light in a star-bright sky where you can pick out constellations like a drawing in a book.

We end it with another big one, like a celestial bookend.

A spectacular end to the day.

In the morning, I squeeze in a short workout as we’re heading to the airport to rent a car. We’ve got lists, and our walking shoes.

Mike drives us to the airport, and fills the time entertaining us with stories (he thinks the clack-click-cluck we heard might have been a woodchuck.) He has anecdotes and stories (annoyed raccoons, sneaky bears, huckleberry picking), answers questions and makes the ride go smooth.

And it turns out he was once a smokejumper, a Zullie. I’m fascinated, so more stories. Kat actually found a copy of Chasing Fire in the airport gift shop, so I’m going to sign it and get it to him.

We get the car—and prep for Missoula shopping with that hit on the airport gift shop.

Downtown Missoula/BW

Once we get into town, we hunt for a parking garage, and end up finding the same one we used when we visited before. There’s a stone statue of a cat—a big one. We’d taken a picture there before, so do again.

In Missoula, on a cat, with a Kat (please note the disparity in outerwear)
Commentary by Laura/Photo by Kat

Then we’re off.

Kat and I are very pleased to find the same shop where I scooped up lots of Christmas gifts (and an amazing bag for me) last time. It only takes a minute to see I’m going to have some fine luck again this trip.

I love having Kat so I can ask: Do these earrings or pendant or whatever look like Girl Pal? If not, maybe someone else, or a bull’s eye right off.

A good long time in the store, but before I’m done I’ve got every single Girl Pal a Christmas gift from Montana. The shopkeeper seemed both impressed and a little anxious. LOL. He boxed them all up—I love buying baubles as they don’t take up much luggage space. Plus, shiny!

Gifts (I think mine is the third from the top, middle stack)
Guess by Laura/Photo by NR

And I, of course, bought myself a pair of earrings for being such a good pal! Plus!! They had gorgeous wooden spoons. I can’t resist a good, attractive wooden spoon. Now I have two from Missoula.

Onto another shop with more fun to find. A tea shop where Kat finds gifts for family. In another BW and I both spot this metal happy sun face. We’ll find a tree branch to hang it on at home.

Pottery/Kat

We find another jigsaw puzzle—so there’s future fun. Souvenirs, A pair of adorable baby booties—and a tiny little pair of blue moccasins. Nana can’t resist.

A nana can’t help herself.
(Please note I wrote this caption four hours before the blog arrived.)
Caption & commentary by Laura/Photo by NR

We head over to Biga Pizza, get on the wait list as they’re slammed. There’s a thrift/free trade/rock/jewelry shop next door.

We should be able to pass our wait time in there.

Kat digs through tumbling stones for candidates for jewelry making, and finds herself a little treasure trove—and a very knowledgeable sales woman.

Rock notes/Kat

I find a cool rock for Colt—who shares my interesting in stones—and another pair of earrings.

The weather’s perfect, I think. Warm, but not hot (for me), a little breezy. And Missoula’s a fun town with interesting buildings, fun shops, lots of restaurants. And some interesting people watching.

I see a woman—probably in her 20s—parking a bike. I have never—seriously never—see anyone that skinny still alive. She’s a pretty girl but her body’s a skeleton with skin. She looks perfectly happy, but I want to tell her to eat something.

Lots of people in town as Pearl Jam’s got a concert. I see lots of PJ tee-shirts. And Kat and I watch a woman pull a decent-sized black poodle from a backpack. Not a tea-cup, but maybe a miniature. In a backpack.

Then we spot a gorgeous Great Dane who ignores the challenging barks of a much smaller mop-headed dog. The Dane has far too much dignity to react.

Now it’s pizza time. Jason and I split the House Pizza—tomato sauce, garlic oil, basil, sauce. Kat and BW get something loaded—called the Vesuvius.

We’re all very happy pizza eaters. The place is busy throughout, so lots of other happy pizza eaters around us. We can’t quite finish two 16” pizzas, so we have a little to bring home.

Pizza/j a-b

Since I’d mentioned this wonderful pizza shop in Come Sundown BW wanted to bring a copy to them. We’re lucky enough the owner’s in, so we have a little chat, give him the book.

We’d hoped to hit—after a walk—an ice cream place called The Big Dipper. Jason and I head out on foot, but the heat and the hours on feet have BW and Kat driving to meet us.

Then, when we come to the end of the road—before we hit the expected address—we realize we’ve walked the wrong way. Even ice cream can’t persuade us to head all the way back across town.

Getting out of Missoula proved a little problematic. Wrong turns, stops and starts, a lot of jerking. Unlike the smooth ride in where I hadn’t had a problem in the back seat, this kills me. I’m car sick before we’re out of town.

We need to stop for a few grocery items so I tell BW that I need to take the wheel once we stop. Driving should help.

We find a travel stop right off the highway that has everything we need—except a watermelon—and I’m already feeling a bit steadier before I slide back in. And fight to bring the seat up for someone without a yard of leg.

It takes about five minutes for me to decide I don’t like this car. Loose steering—and some feature that pops out alerts, even tugs the wheel if you touch the line on the road. Driving on a curvy road, occasionally narrow, means your wheel might brush the stupid line on the side of that road.

The car and I have a simmering battle most of the way. I like to think I won.

Back home to unload all our goodies, have a rest—we’ve been gone nearly 8 hours.

It’s cooled off, so I change sandals for boots, put on a jacket for dinner. Jason takes himself on the walk—and to return a ring found in our drive. It must be from the guy who returned our resort car (for some reason they picked it up while we were in Missoula.)

We drive over and stop for BW to takes pictures of our favorite steer—with a companion. They’ve decided to lie down in the grass. And there’s a sweet pony, gorgeous horses in the opposite field.

Playdate?/BW
Flowing locks/BW

I need to add I saw Kat’s horse painting in progress. Fabulous!

We have a nice, leisurely dinner on the porch, good food, good wine, good company before winding our way home again.

It’s pretty much time to turn in as we’re weary travelers tonight. And BW and Jason have to make an early start in the morning.

Crescent moon/BW

The guys are headed to Glacier National Park—Kat and I demurred—and left around 7. They’re driving in, then taking a four-hour tour. Kat and I will have our day at home.

I got my workout in, will likely write a couple hours. Since I finished the Spencer, I’ll pluck another book out of the pile. Or there’s that new puzzle.

It’s still cool as I write this—low 60s. I expect that will climb considerably before the day’s done.

Oh, and the resort kindly provided us with a watermelon. We have plans for that tomorrow or the next day.

Nora

#Food-a-rama is back!

In today’s #randomkatness:

Fruit + fork, a still life/Kat

_______________________________________________________

Update from Maryland Control Center:  Second surgery went off without a hitch yesterday.  I’m typing while wearing a pair of cheaters, but when I look over the top of my monitor I can see the other side of the room clear as a bell.  As my husband marveled, it’s the first time in 50 years I can say that.  Thanks again for all the good wishes.

Montana – Day 6

Kat’s cat puzzle caught me. So hard to walk away, especially from all those cute faces. I figure to write a little bit today to make up for it.

Though the temps didn’t hit triple digits again, they came close—and with a touch of humidity in the air, it actually felt hotter. Still, Jason and I braved the heat for our walk to lunch. Good soldiers are we.

We eat inside, because pretty damn hot—and enjoy the variety of the offered buffet. Barbecued brisket? Yes, I think I will.

A little overcast, which may add to that close feeling in the air, but Jason, a very good soldier, walks back. I’ve hit my 15k so a ride will work just fine.

Then there’s that puzzle, just waiting. Why not spend a hot afternoon inside with cute kitties?

Cats, a lot of them/NR

We have activities (sort of) planned for next week, so another lazy day works just fine, too. We’re going to do another paint session, all four of us, hit the trail of horseback (not our Baby Mama!), head into Missoula to shop. I may, at some point, take one of the hiking trails to see what I can see.

But we take a day for hanging, puzzling, sitting on the porch, and eating.

Drone class/BW
The cabin from BW’s drone/BW

And playing with baby names. Much fun for me! They now have the baby’s name choices down to about nine. I enjoy this little contest as I love all the names on their current list.

Have some fun looking up meanings for the options.

Time for dinner! Jason’s on foot again. We have to stop to take pictures of the God fingers in the sky.  

They have a Long Table event tonight, but we’re doing that next week. As a result, we nearly have the back deck of the restaurant to ourselves, and a sky with sculpted clouds, a breeze. BW and Kat try the chili—apparently it’s hot enough they ask for sour cream. Out of that, but yogurt does the trick. Jason goes for a wrap, I go for pasta.

Selfie Pano #2/photo by j a-b’s phone

It’s cooled off nicely, so it’s a very pleasant outdoor meal. And the sun’s setting, outlining the clouds in pink, adding some violet, sparks of gold. We add photography to the meal that Kat and I top off with huckleberry and vanilla ice cream. It’s like a huckleberry Dreamsickle!

[From Laura — three different takes on the view]

Kat
Nora
Jason

Our girl’s having some Braxton-Hicks. I think this is the first of them. Not painful, but not comfortable with that tight belly. Baby’s giving her a little preview.

So back home, so mama-to-be can rest.

Workout’s done, and I think I’ll write a little in a bit. Much, much cooler today with a high forecast at 79–that’s about a 20 degree drop. Maybe porch writing! Plus, meteor showers tonight! I hope our big sky stays clear enough for us to see them.

Missoula’s on tap for tomorrow, so I need to make a couple lists. Christmas present shopping, and some groceries. Another homey chore today—a load or two of laundry.

If that doesn’t fill the day, I’ll grab my book.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness (sorry, there is no #food-a-rama — the sky took up everyone’s attention)

Rock +knots = #randomkatness
I said NO BUG photos (even under glass). Kat disagreed.
Distress from Laura/photo by Kat


Scheduling notes from the Maryland Control Center (aka Laura’s office): Vacations are all about no deadlines, little stress. Not so at home.  My second eye surgery is set for the usual time the blog shows up in my inbox.  So the update may be late on Monday or a two-fer on Tuesday.  Either way, you’ll get Day 7 and Day 8 as soon as I’m back up to speed.

Montana – Day 5

We get a hot one, but the heat takes its time to roll in. By lunchtime it’s pleasant enough still for us to scramble together our leftovers for an easy lunch on the back porch. Something for everyone, and especially nice since that blissful morning massage turned me into a relaxed noodle.

Kat’s doing another painting on her own in her room, to use for this year’s magnets and bookmarks. She’s researched the area where I’ve set next summer’s hardcover, and has created a beautiful image that reflects it.

Those of you who request the annual magnet this year are in for a treat. An original Kat!

BW has his drone, Jason has his coding. I’ve got my Spencer book.

We all find a good way to spend the heat of the day.

By early evening it’s hot but not oppressive, and we’re all up for heading over for dinner. Jason gets his walk in, but I’ve got 15k steps so I’m satisfied and ride.

We stop a few times as there are very photogenic horses waiting to pose.

Photo by BW
Photo by BW
Bison blending in/BW

We opt for outside as there’s a nice breeze—and as always that view. Since I’d taken it light at lunch, I figure I can handle another steak. The rest of the table goes for the lamb entree.

Everything is delicious, and Isabel, our server, adds to the whole event. I try the sparkling wine special at her suggestion, and that gets a solid thumb’s up.

While we wait for dinner, we wander out to take some pictures. I get to enjoy Jason and Kat setting up another echo image for that sweet baby bump. Adorable.

Belly and wheel, a still life/j a-b
Awwww/NR

This time Jason and I split the flight of sorbet—mango, blackberry, raspberry.

Time for a mid-post #foodarama:

Perfect.

The evening’s cool—it’s a solid temperature rise and fall daily, and we’re at the end of another relaxing day.

Time for puzzling! Kat’s brought cats. A cute, and again challenging puzzle with lots of cute cats, balls of yarn, a basket and so on.

The guys have already turned in by the time we call it, but we get a decent chunk done—including (as is my system) the edges.

Up a little later this morning, a lovely Saturday, and up to the loft to hit the workout routine. Some good cardio and core this morning, and a nice yoga session to stretch it all out again.

Kat has a massage shortly, then I guess we’ll see about lunch. We may need to squeeze that in as she has the dress rehearsal for her webinar.

I may write, I may read—we’ll see which mood strikes.

Nora

In today’s #randomkatness

Practicing peek-a-boo/Kat

Montana – Day 4

Activities!

I decided to spend a couple hours in NYC, circa 2061, and had a fine time. The lovely morning meant I could start out writing on the porch—so nice to sit in the fresh air, hear the wind surf through the pines. Even if murder is the order of the day.

Finished up inside at the bedroom desk once the sun got strong enough to glare on my screen.

And all done just in time to walk with Jason and BW to lunch—our mama-to-be drove. We detour to visit the horses, and the one drinking, close to the fence, gives the three of us a look.

Eve Dallas’ worst nightmare: they multiplied./BW

I’m not in the mood for a ride today, the look says, so bugger off.

He swishes his tail and walks away.

I fall for the grilled cheese again because why not go for comfort food?

It’s a gorgeous day, but going to get close to triple digits, so time, when we get back to close the windows, turn on the AC. A little time to unwind, then Kat and I have a big treat.

Competition/j a-b

Painting under the willow—huge, fabulous willow with lots of spreading shade—near the main resort. There are five of us at long tables with wood canvases, looking out at the pretty spectacular view. This is billed as abstract. Our instructor is Danielle, and sets us up with globs of oil paint on our pallets, and a little cup of oil to thin the paint as we go. We’re working with two brushes, two pallet knives (a new one for me).

My take is we’re to paint what we see, sort of sketching it out—long lines or curves or whatever—then filling it in. Apparently I saw brilliant fall as my colors ended up seriously bold.

I glance at Kat’s now and then, just shake my head. The girl has serious skills, and there’s no abstract there. What she has is a soft, soothing, yet dramatic rendition of the landscape—the hills, fields, sky, clouds—she even adds in a couple horses some clumps of wildflowers.

Kat’s painting/NR

Danielle claims mine is Van Gogh-esque. Bless her sweet heart. Believe me, I won’t be cutting off an ear any time soon.

Nora’s painting/NR

It’s great fun, and entertaining to see how everyone’s turns out so different. Danielle works with us, makes suggestions (not so much with Kat, as why bother?) I admire the meadow of flowers in the painting on Kat’s other side, and Danielle gives me some pointers on how and where to make some of my own.

I like it!

It’s a terrific way to spend a couple hours. They’ll ship our paintings when they dry—as oil takes time unlike the acrylics I’ve used in Paint and Sips.

I think mine may dry in a year or two as I had a lot of fun with the pallet knives.

Kat and I agree we’d absolutely do this again, and try to convince the guys to try it with us.

Back we go, a little break before it’s time to head back over for dinner.

And we spy our class paintings inside a room—if you stand well back from mine, it’s not bad!

Art from a distance/NR

We have dinner in a cabana—pasta and a salad for me, and it’s great. I don’t have much room for dessert, but ask for the raspberry sorbet, thinking I’ll get one scoop. I get three, so that goes around the table.

We’re a pretty jolly group, and as the evening cools we head back. That sky, that sunset—just as amazing as a painting itself. Dusky blue rising up to strong pink that fades into softer blue, all spreading a gilded light over peaks and fields.

We decide to end our evening with a game of Hearts. Kat’s very canny with this game, and runs them before the rest of us can blink. I got a run in later on, but it’s not enough to catch her. BW and Jason jockey for last place. Then, following our house rules, BW (very quietly) takes four hearts to hit 100 on the nose, and goes back to zero to win.

We’ll be keeping our eye on him next match.

I’m up early to workout as BW, Jason and I all have massages booked for ten. Kat’s getting her pre-natal massage Saturday. Jason and I walk—close to a mile, I guess—on a cool, pretty morning.

I have Natalia—and we actually recognize each other from our visit here three years ago. She gives me a blissful hot stone massage that vanquishes even the thought of a kink.

A damn good way to spend a morning.

I suspect we’ll stay in for lunch as we have leftovers—and it’s hitting up to 104 today. Dry heat it may be, but 104 is freaking hot!

I think I’ll settle down with a book, a glass of wine, and let the afternoon heat roll by.

Flower portrait/NR

Nora

__________________________________________________________

#Food-a-rama:

And in today’s #randomkatness (not sure if this is Kat’s remedy or the resort’s but she took the photo — and Jason supplied the description):

Natural bug protection: cloves and lemon. Kat