Montana – Day 12

Time for a little gardening on a bright summer day. First thing, find the spot. I have to figure if I plant these revived marigolds anywhere but in with the foundation shrubs, they’ll just get mowed down. Doesn’t seem right to bring them back to life for such a short, violent end.

Still, they need a little room and a sunny spot. I find a spot I like right in the front of the house, and Kat agrees it’s the right place.

When you have to wing it with the tools at hand. Photo by Nora.

Must gather my gardening tools, which consists of a long kitchen knife. The knife was so dull it wouldn’t cut through a lemon but Kat (this is Kat after all) sharpened it—with a rock. I’m about to undo her good work for the trio of marigolds, but she’s good with that.

She helps prep the spot, yanking weeds.

Meanwhile the swallows—also nesting, and with five eggs in the top corner of the front porch—are very displeased to have us working down there. We are roundly scolded.

Another nest. Photo by BW
The contents. Photo by BW.

Kat goes off in search of a good sharpening rock while I hack at the dirt with my kitchen knife. They use rocks for mulch here, so I remove those, pull out any below the soil, and in a reasonably short amount of time have the happy trio planted. Kat, sharpening rock in hand, dumps water on them from the coffee pot.

Making space. Photo by Kat

They look sweet, and should do fine as I also discover a pipe, so there’s an irrigation system.

Kat the intrepid. Photo by Nora.
Happy spot. Photo by Nora.
Close up. Photo by Nora

Kat sharpens the knife. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I want to be with Kat.

The ultimate in #randomkatness . Photo by Kat

I work awhile—back porch time. After, while waiting for Griffin to wake from his nap, I head out for a front porch sit with BW. It’s a show out front. A constant stream of birds—and we spot an eagle soaring!—plus our nesting families.

Posing. Photo by BW

The swallows take turns in the nest. One flies to the window frame near the nest, announces the arrival. The other flies off, and the newly arrived swoops into the nest. There’s often no more than minutes between the shift change. Mr. Robin seems to be in charge of the other nest today. Maybe Mom’s out shopping.

He and Mr. Swallow get into it briefly—Bird Fight! After the short mid-air dispute they go back to their corners and ignore each other.

The start. Photo by BW

Time for our hike. Griffin’s still a little logy from his nap and wants to be carried. Since the first part of the trail is STEEP, I don’t envy Jason this task. I keep in shape, but whew! It’s a quad burner and a lung tester.

Heading up. Photo by BW

Kayla—cross-country champ—all but dances up it. But then—haha—I am old enough to be her grandmother.

Up we go, and up and up. I have a great excuse to pause and catch my breath on this challenging climb. Wild lupine! It spears and spreads under the trees, takes over sunny spaces, dashes purple into the brown and green of the woods. Seeing all the wildflowers overcomes weeping quads.

Lupine on the hill. Photo by Nora

There used to be a kind of obstacle course along the loop, but we see they’ve taken the stations out. Maybe somebody got hurt. We see a few other people on the trek, and let one large group pass us. Happily, as remembered, the track levels off. Now it’s a kind of stroll through the summer forest, with the tender green of new growth on little conifers, more lupine, what looks like wild primrose to me, sun and shadow and wonderfully pine-scented air.

Google lens calls it a Woods Rose. Comment by Laura, Photo by Nora

We find they’ve left one obstacle—oddly what we’d deem the most dangerous—the tall ladder build into a tall tree and the thick ropes for swinging.

Action pose. Photo by Nora.

Now it’s down—and steeply. Mind your step! And down we go and across the road, over the little bridge that spans a stream all but buried in the tall grass.

Back home again to make dinner.

Kat uses her knife sharpened rock to whap the garlic for peeling, then minces it—SO much better than using a steak knife! She decides to leave her handy tool for the next occupants and uses a Sharpie to label its many uses.

She’s my girl when the zombies attack.

Spanish beans and rice obviously requires rice. When my girl first started coming around she was—sincerely—amazed we cooked rice in a pan. Where’s the rice cooker? She had no idea rice could be prepared outside a rice cooker—and I had no idea such an appliance existed. And here we are, the Asian Rice Goddess and the Irish Potato Queen making a rice dish on a hot plate. In this dish, you sauté the rice in oil with the garlic for awhile—stir, stir, stir, then add lots of broth—veggie in this case. The rice cooks in the broth, absorbs it, and voila.

I’ve made this dish plenty at home, no issue. But the rice doesn’t want to fully cooperate on hot-plate cookery. Adjust temp, add more broth—let’s give it a shot of this red wine. Progress is slow, but it’s progress. Add beans, add salsa add herbs and spices. Wait for the rice to give it up.

I’ll add I don’t eat rice. Ever. At all. And as this dish is spicy, Griffin and I will share a pizza—which as it’s done (toaster oven) and the beans and rice are finally done—Kat suggests I cut with the scissors.

This is brilliant, works like a charm. When the aliens invade, she remains my girl.

We have our meal, and it’s proclaimed very tasty.

Play time segues into Daddy Dance. Upstairs for the boy for nightly Story Time before bed. Apparently Griffin declared more play time after stories, and while Mom deals with that, Daddy comes back down.

Time for Hearts! I warn Kayla she’s going DOWN tonight, and her journey stats with a hard slam on the first hand. But Jason gets hit with the queen the very next hand, shocked to take her with a measly four of diamonds.

The battle’s on. BW takes the lead, Kayla inches back. Jason holds his own. For me, other than one bad hand, it holds pretty steady. Round and round it goes, until Kayla takes the queen with a five of clubs—a reprise of Jason’s early pain.

Down she goes, and I take my solid victory. There is no sentiment in cards!


Pretty day today, and a trip to Missoula for shopping this morning. Going to squeeze a workout in—or try. Looking forward for the hunt for Christmas presents.


How does a boy get a purple face? All explained in the video below. Photo by Kat

Programming note from the Travelogue Editorial Desk: I close up the beach office and head back to Maryland tomorrow morning so Thursday’s post will be a bit later, closer to evening.

Will miss this view. Photo by Laura

24 thoughts on “Montana – Day 12”

  1. Loved the knife sharpening! My nana used to sharpen the bread knife on the kitchen step. Everything was sandstone round there. She could cut the thinnest most even slices of bread I’ve ever seen. Thanks for jogging that memory out from more than 50 years ago. Also I’m loving reading about your holiday. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love hearing about your vacation! I just finished rereading Catching Fire last night, loved reading about the Missoula area.

  3. Wow, Kat is da’bomb. I have trouble keeping my knives sharp using a knife sharpener! I also want to be with Kat when the whatever apocalypse hits.

    I have a rice cooker. My grandmother would give rice cookers as gifts when moving into your first place. I still have the one she gave me when I moved into my first apartment decades ago. It still works! 🙂

  4. Kat is your MacGuyver! So resourceful and inventive. Who wouldn’t want to keep her around when she is ever so handy? Looks like such a fun family trip with gorgeous scenery and priceless time with a grandchild or two. My grand kids have never lived close enough to see on a regular basis so I am quite envious. Always a long car ride away, but they are moving to your neck of the woods soon. Still a long trip by car from Kentucky to Maryland though. Now when will someone create a useful teleporter for those of us who hate the logistics of getting from point A to point B?

  5. Nothing fazes Kat! A good person to have with you and creative! Who would ever want to climb that tree, and the ropes looked a little frayed. And Laura’s beach looked wonderful. Happy times.

  6. I’m sorry for Laura that she has to leave the beach office. beach and forest are my two happiest places. and how does one merit a daughter-in-law like Kat? Is there anything that girl is not good at?
    I just learned something from your post. I never heard of Google Lens- now i have to check it out. I’m looking forward to seeing your haul from shopping tomorrow. Good luck.

  7. Always a gardener, good for you to save the pretty marigolds. What a fun time you are all having and well deserved. You don’t like rice? That is unfortunate as you are missing out on epic risotto’s. So glad you were able to get away

  8. That little gardening vignette is a bit chilling. I would stay on Kat’s good side. 😁

  9. Want Kat on my team in any apocalypse! That woman is resourceful!
    Hike looked amazing, such pretty views. Glad the weather seems better this second week. Enjoy the rest if your vacation here in the West!
    Janette from Alberta Canada

  10. I, too, want to be with Kat for the Zombie Apocalypse! The marigolds look perfect where you planted them. Your hike sounded beautiful and a very good workout. You guys are doing wonders cooking on a hot plate! The photos are wonderful, and Griffin remains adorable. Congratulations on winning at cards. Laura, sorry you have to leave the beach, but we know vacations don’t last forever.

  11. I love “Falling Into The Story” on a daily basis. It’s like reading an awesome book you can’t put down….what will I do when the adventure is over😊😊😊

  12. Yeah, you’ll miss the beach, Laura. I don’t know what it’ll be where you are in the higher elevations, but here at the shore, it’s going to be close to 90° this weekend. Temperatures to match the first day of summer! 😄

  13. Yay on saving those Marigolds. Kat is amazing. I’ve never played hearts. Military folks play spades all the time.
    It looks gorgeous there in Montana and I wouldn’t mind time at the beach with Laura. Love the beach.

  14. I suspect some of your rice problem was altitude. We always have to factor in altitude for eggs, pasta, etc. I never watched it, but I thought about Survivor when you described Kat’s resourcefulness. She’d have dusted them all. Was that huckleberries Griffin was enjoying? Love to watch kids enjoy their food. I’m with you, surprised they kept that ladder and ropes up. That has to be nearly impossible to ignore for an adrenalin junkie. Laura, I’ve got Picture This on my phone and I love that it only needs that third leaf on a sprout to identify the plant. That’s how I found I somehow had about 2 dozen volunteer cucumbers coming up through my herbs! I don’t know how, but I suspect the neighboring chickens who like to come visit my garden. Thanks, as always, for sharing your holiday!

  15. That’s very clever! If it was me, I probably would’ve dealt with the dull knife and cursed it the whole time.

    Why no rice? Just don’t like it? I’m middle eastern and basically made of rice, so I’m just curious. Lol.

    Regardless, the dish sounds amazing!

  16. Montana is the most beautiful place in the world, but if course I am biased since I am born and raised here. Welcome to our beautiful state! We are so lucky to have you and your family here!

  17. It looks like you are all having a wonderful time. I don’t understand something. You’re in a house, but it doesn’t have a stove? Only a hot plate? Seems sort of weird.

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