30 December 2011

Red Bridge Over the River, Missoula Montana

Once in a while on my weekly drive north up US Hwy 93 to Missoula, Montana, the thought of trading scenery for traffic is particularly abhorrent.

(Yes, city mouse, I heard your loud - albeit squeaky - guffaw, “Traffic! That isn’t traffic!“, and I realize that, compared to larger cities, Missoula has no traffic. However, this is my monologue, so I beg your indulgence, knowing you protest because you are slightly jealous.)

29 December 2011

Don't Fence Me In - Lewistown, Montana

I am supremely happy when a photo turns out just the way I want it, without any tweaking after the shutter flips. And it’s even better to be rewarded with such a shot after not talking yourself out of stopping in the middle of a snowstorm while driving to visit family in Lewistown, Montana.

28 December 2011

Marriage of Convenience

Being a college town, Missoula, Montana, has a lot of bicycles in services as a primary mode of transportation, even during the winter. This old iron fence hasn’t gone anywhere in decades & makes for a safe place to lock up.

27 December 2011

Water Under the Bridge

In his lovely collection of Montana photos & essays, “I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River, Reflections on Family, Photography, and Fly-Fishing“, Henry Winkler shares his fascination for reflections as a photography subject. I understand the appeal; often, a reflection brings close the best elements of the day - blue sky, wistful clouds, snow.

26 December 2011

Old Trees Basking in the Sun

It seems as if the ancient poplars are reaching to be swept up by the same breeze that raked fingertips through the clouds.

25 December 2011

View West of Hamilton, Montana

On Thursday’s lunch break, I stopped at our local Allegra Printing office; behold, the view that graced their parking lot! A white Christmas may bypass the valley floor, but a 10 minute drive brings it up close & personal. When in Montana, if you ever need a reminder of what you’re thankful for, just take a look around.

24 December 2011

Looking South from the "M", Missoula, Montana

If you ever get to Missoula, be sure to pack a water bottle & hike up to the “M” above the University of Montana. The continually changing views are worth any anguishing reminder that you used to be more in shape.
On the early fall day pictured above, forest fires still hazed the mountain ranges all the way down the Bitterroot Valley. Which brings me to another thing for which to be thankful during the winter: we’re not breathing smoke from local forest fires.

23 December 2011

Cluck Cluck Deuce

Bluebell & Love Bug enjoyed a fine winter day from the safety of their mobile coop outside Yellow Seahorse Recording Studio, Corvallis MT. They were kind enough to pause & give me the hairy eyeball. (But even kinder to send me home with fresh eggs!)

22 December 2011

Heading Home for Christmas

Yes, the title's a little nostalgic, & you're prob'ly humming along with Bing Crosby by now.... railroad tracks heading off to whatever waits around the bend have been known to bring on a fit of wistfulness.

21 December 2011

Little Box of Sunshine

Hooray!  Starting today, we'll have a little more daylight every day! 
To tide you over until there's a noticeable difference, here's a little box of sunshine - just what the doctor ordered!
I captured it in my backyard this past summer & saved it for you.... kinda like Bill Cosby's snowball he saved in the freezer for Juniour Barnes... but nicer.

20 December 2011

Mill Creek, Bitterroot Valley, Montana

Whenever I hike the trail along Mill Creek, it never fails that I tell myself, "Self, you should do this more often."  Firstly, because it's pretty easy for the first 20-30 minutes, which gets you back to the horse bridge, which I consider a slightly fascinating destination. And secondly, because you walk along the creek most of the way and the sound & sight of it never fail to calm me & put things into clear perspective.

19 December 2011

Bitterroot River Autumn Path

There is beauty at every bend of the Bitterroot River. As I traipsed along time-worn paths late this fall, I thought of my nephews who would visit every summer and spend hours trekking the river paths, outfitted with fishing poles and optimism. They’d return with scratches and bug bites - and huge smiles to go with tales of that day’s adventures.

18 December 2011

Working Days Are Over

After decades of wind & weather, it's amazing that this old truck is still hanging on to its last parking spot.  To see an amazing collection of old truck & car photos, take a jaunt to Memory Lane & stroll through John's collection.

17 December 2011

Who Are the Trees in Your Neighborhood?

There are some amazing old trees in my neighborhood.  The town of Hamilton was built pretty much at the behest of copper magnate Marcus Daly; thanks to early planning, visitors & residents can stroll in the shade on a hot summer day.

16 December 2011

Classic Country

Another old building with a story untold. Perhaps someone planted the weathered tree with hope set toward future summers when it would shade the doorstep from the evening sun.

15 December 2011

Deer's Eye View

This might be the perspective of a deer as it inclines its neck down to drink the clear water of the Bitterroot River, eyes alert, ears twitching to listen for anything amiss.

14 December 2011

Study in Battered Blue, Missoula MT

It just caught my eye as I was walking to get downtown, made me wonder what stories it had to tell, who insisted on a round sign & what was first advertised on it...

13 December 2011

Winter Reflections, Missoula MT

The warm morning light created these beautiful reflections, despite the freezing cold air.
I, cozy-loving creature that I am, was amazed at the number of dedicated folks out running in weather that hadn‘t yet warmed up to the balmy high of 22°F.

12 December 2011


Another micro-view along the Bitterroot River; this was not staged - the leaf fell there on its own. Other parts of the log was riddled with holes, possibly made by a woodpecker before the tree fell.

11 December 2011

Purple Tenacious Flower

On my rural meanderings, I was repeatedly amazed & delighted at the tenacity of various plants in the face of impending winter weather. It’s as if they have a pact to continue about the business of living until the very last minute is insisted upon.
(Watch, someone will point out that this humble wayside flower is actually the scourge of the State, knapweed, whose commitment to its own continuance is a legendary & scary lesson for us all.)

10 December 2011

My Groovy Blue Bike

Since I’ve mentioned biking in a previous post, here’s a portrait of my trusty wheels.
It’s such a happy blue - just seeing it in the garage kindles hope for spring.
I bought it at a flea market shop for $15, then had Valley Bicycles & Ski tune it up & replace the tyres.
A cool bonus is that it still has the original Ross decals on the frame, as well as a sticker from The Spoke Shop in Billings, MT.

09 December 2011

Orange You Glad I Said Banana?

I have no idea what this orange industrial tubing does for a day job, but the colour and patterns caught my eye during a bike ride this fall.
If you, dear reader, can enlighten us, please do so with a comment below!

08 December 2011

Classic Montana Farm Scene

Long-time friends of my husband own one of the last multi-generational family ranches in the Missoula valley. The views are quintessential Montana & always provide for me the same calm as gazing out over the ocean or Alberta‘s prairies.
(Although I did have to jig around a bit to crop out the newer housing a couple rolling hills over.)

07 December 2011

Honour Given Where Honour Is Due

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour. You see here the base of the soldier memorial in front of the Ravalli County Museum, in Hamilton, Montana.

05 December 2011

04 December 2011


This crazy little bird - possibly an American dipper , aka a water ouzel - was a fascinating diversion on a walk along the Bitterroot River. He kept diving in & out of the water, quick as you please, then popping back up onto the rock to take a look around. 

03 December 2011

Yarn Shop Ladies of Style - Downtown Missoula, MT

Downtown Missoula shopkeepers display not just their wares but also some fabulous imaginations. A city stroll provides mental inspiration along with the exercise.
If you're yarn-ing (ha ha) for new knitting inspiration, it doesn't get any better than Loopy Knit/Crochet.

02 December 2011

Old Garage, Hamilton MT

I kid you not - this photo was taken the day before our first winter storm hit Hamilton. It’s a true saying in Montana, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”

01 December 2011

24 Days to Christmas… Are You Ready?

This micro-scene from Helena, MT, brings to mind a holly, jolly Christmas.
 If you’re ever in our State capital, make cozy stop at Fireside Coffee for - obviously - your coffee & tea fix, or for soup & a hearty sandwich. It’s a cozy place that hosts a local knitter’s gathering & displays local artists' work for sale. For me, it was a welcome respite from the over-the-top-ness of our daughter's cheer competition.

30 November 2011

High, Wide, & Handsome - Sunset Montana Style

The rolling prairie of central Montana features a sky that starts pretty much at your feet, meaning the sunsets last longer, and are bigger and bolder than what you'll see further west in the mountains. If you're heading West or North, Vaughn is a great little place to stop for fuel & a stretch of the legs.

29 November 2011

Windswept Hills, East of Billings, MT

The light was so cool & clear when I took this photo - a perfect day to drive across a big stretch of God's country. Spare views like this make me think of the first homesteaders, working so hard to keep their claim, living miles & miles from any neighbor, keeping company with the wind & the wide Montana sky.

28 November 2011

Cool, Clear, Water

A network of irrigation ditches played a huge part in the early growth of the Bitterroot Valley, providing water for the apple orchards & other crops, & advertising fodder to lure restless souls westward.

27 November 2011

A Few of My Favourite Things: Rocks & Weathered Wood

For  a good part of my life, I've been picking up nifty rocks. In my younger years, I wasn't allowed to take them home. Adulthood has freed the fetish.  I remember finding a couple flat, slatey stones - perfect additions to my emerging walkway - on a river walk with my muscley nephew, M., & convincing him that we could both easily carry one back, since we were less than a mile from the car.

Weathered grey wood evokes steadfastness, perseverance - aged homesteads, still standing; cedar-shingled beach cottages, shelters from coastal winds. 
The old cedar plank pictured here was a gift from previous owners of our little Hamilton house. It's a great 3-season place to sit & practise guitar, enjoying the front-yard flowers, saying "hi" to strolling neighbors.

26 November 2011

Willow and Water

The pattern of willows against the dark water caught my eye, reminding me of graceful Asian scroll paintings.  Rainy late-October weather provided lush lighting for a gorgeous walk along the Bitterroot River on the west edge of Hamilton, MT.
Can anyone provide a more vivid artwork example than the two links above?

25 November 2011

Beetling Down the Deadwood

Anyone know what kind of beetle we have here?
My niece, M., noticed it while we hiked earlier this fall along Mill Creek, east of Corvallis, MT.

24 November 2011

Fall and Winter Merger, Kelly Island Fishing Access, Missoula MT

A friend who knows outdoorsy things once enlightened me that the river is very, very cold when ice forms the way you see in this photo.  Not a comforting thing to remember as I stepped - very carefully -  a few feet down the snow-sheeted boat ramp to frame this shot at Kelly Island Fishing Access.

Anybody have specifics of what the water temperature might be? The air had to be below 20 degrees F because it was only 23 degrees later in the day. (And you rightly ask, WHAT was she doing outside?)

23 November 2011

Blodgett Canyon Chipmunk, West of Hamilton, MT

Awwwww... isn't he cute? I made a stab at chipmunk talk, & this little guy kept coming closer. Maybe I was actually chirping something useful about a stash of nuts hidden near Blodgett Creek?

22 November 2011

Canadian Geese Grazing, Missoula MT

So, does the fact that they're CANADIAN Geese contribute to their ability to sit around in a field when it's only 15 degrees Fahrenheit?  The only reason I'd sit in the cold is to watch a hockey game.

21 November 2011

Missoula Barbershop At Rest for the Night

This closed barbershop caught my eye during an evening stroll in downtown Missoula, Montana.  I appreciate the directness of the chairs & sink fixtures, the tidy white smock hung up, signalling a day's work done.

20 November 2011

Winter Has Arrived in Missoula

Well, the weather outside wasn't frightful, just pretty cold! At least it kept the neighborhood watch from coming outside to tell me to move my car out of the No Parking zone...& this is why there are no specifics of this location!

19 November 2011

Hieronymous Park, Hamilton - Ducks On Sunset Pond

This year, the golden, perfect days of fall continued right up to first snowfall.  Hieronymous Park in Hamilton, MT, is a great place to stroll & enjoy meadows, mountains, & miscellaneous mammals. (Sorry, once I started with the "m" words, they continued, unrelenting!)

18 November 2011

NW of Corvallis MT, Looking South

In case you've forgotten, Montana's also known as Big Sky Country.  I remember Dr. C.M.Ward saying the only other place he'd seen such endless sky was in Africa.