Montana – Day 10

Pretty day that promises even prettier as we head out to Garnet Ghost Town. Gabriella, our driver and guide, is as easy-breezy as the day. It’s just cool enough when we get there for—most of us—to want our jackets or hoodies, but oh so pleasant. I love the feel of this place, the piney air, the rising hills and dirt roads, the cabins and buildings that testify to this once thriving mining town.

Garnet. Photo by BW

It’s Kayla’s first trip here, so Gabriella fills her in—and I hit the little pop-up outside the gift shop cabin for some tumbling stones for the boys at home.

Kayla and Nora. Photo by BW

Griffin’s already taking off—the boy sees a road, he wants to travel it.

We can’t go into the wonderful and haunted old hotel or the general store—COVID’s slowed down some repairs and maintenance—but we can wander and climb and explore.

It doesn’t take long to ditch the jackets—and it’s really glorious just to be out in the warm and the sun. I spot some wild strawberries—just like the ones I’m constantly ripping out of my garden beds at home.

Wild berry. Photo by Nora

We meet up with Griffin and his parents, who—thinking they followed the right track—ended up at a private cabin’s drive. Fortunately the guy made allowances. Imagine living way, way up there, miles from anyone or anything but nature.

Griffin discovers the old jail, and apparently has an affinity for it. He loops through this cabin—out one door, around, in the other to stomp on little light balls from the sun through cracks in the roof. Around and around and around.

C’mon Granda! Photo by Kat

Climb the hills to view other cabins. I always imagine how families had to really learn to get along, and cooperate in this small spaces where a bedroom is tucked beside the tiny living/kitchen area and kids climb a later to share beds in a loft.

It’s clear Garnet is, for our outdoor loving explorer as delightful as Disneyland. I think he’d have stayed all day. And wasn’t pleased when it was time to go.

Family photo.

On the ride back, we see a doe and two tiny, tiny fawns. Mom and one streak up the steep and rocky hillside, but the other lays down and plays possum. We stop as at first we worried he’s hurt—but no—just scared, and he soon races up to join his mother and sibling.

Back home I decide to fit in a short cardio deal, and set up outside.

This is wonderful! The views, the air, the sun and shade. I smell the grass as I stretch down. Ahh.

Now I want some flowers. I plan to take scissors out and go around—out our drive, walk down to the narrow, high-grass area where the flowering bushes grow. I figure to get some of the honeysuckle looking bush, walk around it for chance at the white lilacs and some more purple.

However, when I get to the honeysuckle bush—which turn out to be tatarian honeysuckle—I see the bees—very, very busy bees, lots and lots of busy bees basically making it their own. I have a conversation with my bee friends: Okay, look, it’s a really big bush. I only one this one sprig. Just one. Do. Not. Sting. Me.

The foraging place.

Fortunately, they’re reasonable about it. But to get to the white lilacs, I’d have to test their generosity as the bush spreads clear to the other fence. I decide against.

Treasure allowed by the bees.

But I get some purple lilacs—briefly consider climbing the fence for the white—quickly reject the idea. Who knows what lurks in that high grass? But I find a couple other blooming things and make my little arrangement.

Finished! Photo by Nora.

Griffin’s napping, Kat and Jason have a couple’s massage—and I have the baby monitor. I sit on the back porch to work. Ahhh. Get a solid amount done really at my leisure before Griffin wakes.

He’s standing beside his bed, crying when I go in. Since COVID and isolation, he’s not as happy with me as he once was—but we’re getting there. He doesn’t freak that I’m not Mom or Dad but cries—just sleepy tears—on his way downstairs. Looks around.

And sees the cookie I hold out.

All is well.

We sit with the iPad and watch Sesame Street’s There’s A Fly In My Soup segment about fifty times. He finds it hysterical, and often calls out Waiter!

I give him black olives—the kid eats them like candy—some cheese, and he shares his happy with me. This is a good thing.

I think he’ll want to go outside, but when he’s done the post-nap snack, he decides all he wants in this world is the electric cord for the lamp. It’s one of the few things in this world his nana and his cousin won’t allow him to have.

The battle begins. He wedges himself behind the table with the lamp, and Kayla’s prying his fingers off the cord. As soon as she does, he grabs with his other hand—I should add there are many angry sound effects. The boy is strong. Seriously strong, and very determined to yank the crap out of the cord.

It takes both of us to detach him. I’m not saying fire shot out of his eyes during this battle, but if he could’ve done it, he would have.

We try to lure him outside. Outside is his favorite place. But he KNOWS we want him outside, so has no interest whatsoever. The cord, after all, is inside.

I try the little bubble machine, his beloved tubs of water and rocks. No dice.

Kayla says, try a cookie. Smart girl.

He wants the cookie, but seems to know it’s bait. Hard to resist bait. We get him to the back door, and I just grab him and set him on the porch.

Insult! Horror!

Meanwhile bubbles are bubbling, Kayla is all but doing handsprings to show him the joy of outside. He won’t move away from the door. Inside is all.

So I sit down on the platform of our hot tub and start playing with the rocks and water. He yearns. I can see it. We take the bucket and cup to the top step of the porch.

He caves.

Now he’s jabbering and conducting his experiments. Slowly, I move the bucket down to the ground, and Kayla and I won another battle.

He’s thoroughly happy now, playing with his water, playing in the grass, wandering around the big yard. And when his parental unit returns, there’s no desperate rush to them. It’s just like, hey, as he continues to play.

A very good thing for a toddler who’s spent the best part of 18 months with just that parental unit.

Ready for dinner. Photo by Nora.

Off to dinner—such a gorgeous night. Barbecue time with the barefoot keyboardist and his band. The sky’s just stunning, and it’s so nice to sit out without needing a jacket. At the end of the first set, the band gets kids to come up on stage and floss—or just dance around. Griffin’s been interested in the band, but he’s not ready to perform.

Sky drama. Photo by BW
Storm. Photo by j a-b

The sky goes dramatic—storm coming in. We can see the rain wall in the south east and serious clouds. It’s a sight—compelling, powerful. The wind kicks—the staff scurries to grab food off the barbecue area, and the band hurries to break down as that rain pours. People rush to the cover of the porch or inside, but the way the storm’s blowing we’re pretty sheltered in our pod. We opt to wait it out.

What a ride! Kayla and BW head for the hills (or the bar where there’s seating and some music), but the rest of us stay put. It rolls and blows, and the temp drops easily 20 degrees. But it’s just amazing. That big, big sky is one boiling mass, then it’s done.

Storm. photo by j a-b

Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Home again, and into warm sweats.

Daddy Dance—and it never get old.

Kayla, BW and I try some 500 Rummy, and Kayla once again takes the lead. Asses are laughed off, even after—maybe because—we learn we’ve screwed up the rules. Much too long since I’ve played this, but I do know: No, Kayla, you can’t play a two of Hearts on The Ace of Hearts after it’s played on The King of Hearts.

It does not, as she tries to negotiate, make a complete circle. But good try.

I nearly catch her—mere points away—but she prevails. She’s the Card Champ of this trip.

Bedtime. It’s been a long, active, pretty damn fabulous day.

Beautiful this morning—so nice to wake to 50s instead of 30s. Lots of sun.

Workout’s done, and a massage is in my near future.



15 thoughts on “Montana – Day 10”

  1. What incredible love and patience Griffin is given….such a fortunate son!

    Great adventures!

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Looks like another fun day and Griffin testing his Nana and cousin…🥰🥰

  3. Griffin really, really knows how to hold onto an idea – he’s going to be running the world someday, just you watch. He was so fascinated with the ghost town, that was fun. Mom once brought home some wild violets for the edging of the front garden and accidentally some strawberries, too. Her toy poodle learned there was a treat available at just her height and would come back from her morning ramble with red all over her muzzle. Your bouquets must smell so good, Nora, and kudos for not bringing a bee in with you. So glad you’re having a fun time.

  4. I forgot to comment on the Random Katness. Is that a wheel rim that has become one with the tree? Looks like it’s made a nice denning site in the roots.

  5. Gorgeous storm photos! Thank you Nora and your family for sharing your vacation with us.

  6. Another enjoyable vacation day! Griffin is definitely testing his strength of personality on Nana and Kayla. But women together prevail! The rainstorm looks and sound wonderful (drought here in California). The randomkatness is stunning! I love trees! Thank you, again, for sharing.

  7. I can’t believe Griffin is only 18 months! he’s so tall and determined for his age. Nora & i are a year apart, but i’m at the GG stage (that’s great grands), and he looks as tall as my petite 3 yr old GG. They both have minds of their own.
    I love storms- i run out while others run in. But in Eve & Roarke’s town (thats’ New York City) you are not as open to the elements. I wonder how Griffin would react to a real loud clap of thunder? it could even scare adults.

  8. A strong willed toddler is not an easy adversary, but a determined Grandma is no pushover either.
    I do love a good storm, so long as I can view it dry and safely, there is something about the air afterwards that is so invigorating.
    Thanks again for taking us on this journey with you and your family.

  9. Thank you Nora, for sharing all this with us. I love the flower arrangement. I think you made a good deal there with the bees. Griffin is at such a great age, his stamping out the lights was priceless. He really seems like such a bright little boy. I’m glad he’s getting comfortable with Nana again. Absolutely loved the pictures of the sky and the storm coming in. The weather changes so fast there in the spring! What a great trip. Enjoy the rest of your time with the family!

  10. I’m new to the family dynamics, who are Kat n Jason related to? Kayla? I have really enjoyed the stories of this trip. Big Sky country is awesome, love the pictures. Enjoy the rest of your time.

  11. Gotta love how those 2 year olds love to test. “This is mine. I found it. You can’t have it.” Doesn’t matter it’s not safe it’s his lol. You would have loved it when my niece was putting her son down for a nap one time. He wanted to sleep in his bed. She told him no. I know you. You won’t stay in the bed and go to sleep. He looked at her and said “Mommy you don’t know me.” Cracked us up.
    They are testers at 2 and determined.
    Sounds like a fantastic vacation. So glad you’re sharing and appreciate it so much. Thank you.

  12. I always laugh at the antics of Griffin. Do you think he is a toddler?? My grandson is about the same age, minus a few months, and is my heart’s joy. I often think that these COVID babies will be the smartest, most secure kids ever, as they spend their lives thus far with their little cocoon of a family, getting so much wonderful love and attention.

  13. What a great time! I would have loved to visit the ghost town.
    I guess in olden days where an entire family of 2 to 4 generations lived in a 3 room house with loft, people had to work to get along. My family and I have visited places around the world where people still live like that.
    Dancing in the rain looked like fun. A little water never killed and it kept Griffin entertained.
    Keep posting!

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