Friday, August 30, 2013

 Inspired by my niece and sister, who took some beautiful butterfly pictures during their vacation in Austria, I tried to get some myself of the 'locals' around here.
Have you ever tried to photograph a butterfly? Well, let me tell you, it 'ain't' easy!
These creatures flutter and bumble all over the place and rarely sit still long enough, or in the right place, or at the right angle, to snap them.
There also was a lot of wind and I guess they don't have too much 'mass' to hang on very easily.
Anywho, I discovered my best strategy was to zoom in on a flower and just wait until one paid a visit. Still, they came out a little grainy/blurry. Sometimes I also just don't get my zoom or macro figured out in time!
According to my Rocky Mtn. Audubon Guide, these are Callippe Fritillary on Spotted Knapweed.
And this is a Honey Bee.
We haven't 'done' much lately so this weeks pictures are a little bit of everything and all over the map.
On Monday night, during a big thunderstorm, we went to the village to watch the 'Yellowstone'  movie in the I-Max theatre.
The film features the history, wildlife, beauty, and geothermal activity in the park.
Projected onto a 60’ by 80’ (six-story) screen, with over 12,000 watts of digital surround sound, the I-MAX film Yellowstone claims to - 'send viewers over the edge—literally—of the Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, thrills them through Snake River rapids on a hand-crafted wood raft, and chills them with a chase through camp by a marauding grizzly bear' - .
West Yellowstone IMAX
I love I-Max movies. It's like you're right in the middle of it all!
We were almost literary dropped in rivers, bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles and erupting geysers and flew like an eagle over beautiful meadows and mountains and herds of bison and elk.
A little short, just over 40 minutes, but fun! 
Each year the theatre rotates other I-MAX releases for alternate movie selection. For $9 dollars you can see one movie or you can choose to see another one after that for only $5 more.
The second movie you can go and see anytime within a week of purchase.
                            Yellowstone Trading Post
The building also features the West Yellowstone Trading Center, an expansive gift shop and concessions stand.
Back home I discovered some 'dots' in the meadow. My binoculars revealed they were Pronghorns! There were 2 young ones among them but I didn't get a clear shot of them.
After being absent all summer it was nice to see them again!

I'm starting to put an itinerary together for our trip south in the Fall. Only about 4 1/2 weeks left! Can you believe it?
We're confirmed to have a job at Lajitas Golf (and RV) Resort and Spa in Lajitas (how about that), Texas, right in the middle between the Big Bend National and the State Park.
                                      Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa
James can work in maintenance for either the Hotel or the RV Park but is hoping he'll get the job as golf course superintendent assistant which is also vacant. He's still negotiating with the manager, biggest issue being they want somebody for longer than a season.
Yes, it's quite a beauty!
Do we want that? I don't know. The summers are HOT there! On the other hand we have AC and the job comes with 'perks', like health insurance for instance (what a concept) and James would love to get some experience in 'the field' for future jobs. Mmm. Should we try it for a year?
Decisions, decisions.....
On another note, I told you it would be all over the map, I've discovered that Walmart ships groceries too! Well, I guess it's not much of a discovery, more of a realisation. I never thought about it, that's all.
Being 'remote', as we are almost always, it costs a lot of gas to hit one of the bigger towns each month to stock up. We could shop locally, but although the grocery here carries the reasonably priced Western Family products, some things we use on a regular base are just very expensive!
To the rescue comes Walmart, with FREE shipping, if you buy (eligible) products over $45! They don't ship everything off course, no perishables or heavy cans and bottles, but a lot of other stuff that's just sooo much cheaper.
Works for me!
Let me see, I did some baking (again? yeah, again). I tried my hand on making English Muffins, whitch we love to eat but are (you guessed it) rather expensive here (like all bread).
Very good!

Again, a little different but not too hard.
The difference is in baking the (twice) risen dough on a griddle for about 10 minutes on each side! They are delicious!

Oh, and to satisfy my sweet tooth, I made a sort of spice cake (with raisins), which goes good with that 'fall is in the air' feeling :), and ginger cookies (with pieces of chopped crystallized ginger).

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise, ginger .... can you imagine the smell?

Very nice with a good cup of tea!
I was hoping to find some late flowers around the meadows for a picture, but apart from the Knapweed, the only ones I could find were my own.
They've flowered so faithfully all summer they deserve a little attention I'd say. I so enjoy having some flowers in 'my space', it makes all the difference.
I hope they'll hang on for a little longer. The nights are getting very cool, I might have to start bringing them in soon.




Friday, August 23, 2013

Beautiful Hebgen Lake was once again the destination of our weekend outing. This time it served as a very suitable decor for the yearly Hebgen Lake Trout Cook-Off at the Kirkwood Resort and Marina.
This yearly cook-off takes place in the late afternoon but there's stuff going on all day. The events typically start out with various classes for health and education, Yoga, Zumba and Nutrition, sailboat racing in the late morning followed by (Fly) Casting Lessons and Kayak Rides in the afternoon.

At 5:00 p.m. the Live Music began with Beer-Tasting, which was when we arrived.

The resort has a yacht club with a boat launch and fuel station. The marina also has rental boat slips, fishing boats and pleasure boats and sell fishing licenses.
In winter it is a popular place for ice-fishing!  
At 6:00 p.m. the cooking entries were presented and judged. First by some local hot shots for the 'official vote' and than it was up to the public to start tasting for the People's Choice Votes. Extra points were awarded if the trout was caught in Hebgen Lake anytime during the summer (and hopefully kept fresh somewhere ;).

There were about 12 entries and fortunately they all cooked for an army because lots of hungry (and thirsty) people showed up!

One of the cooks we recognized as being Hollywood actor William Devane. He seemed to be just on vacation here since no special mention was made of him.

It wasn't easy to make a choice, everything was just delicious. In the end James voted for the Smoked Trout Salad and I went for the Trout Won tons. Yumm!
Can you believe it, there was even Hickory Trout infused Ice-cream! It tasted a little salty but not very 'trouty', I thought.

The overall winner were the Hebgen Trout (pasta) Shells that we had both tagged for 2nd place. Very good also!

 It was a very warm evening (again). This cute little Pitt-bull (sometimes they are) tried to find some relief on the cool concrete!

                  Hot dog!

It was a very beautiful and very delightful summer evening!

As was the sunset:



Friday, August 16, 2013

We made another trip to the lake this week. Hebgen Lake proper, this time, not it's 'arm'.
We tried a different dirt road which turned out to be much better than the previous one!

It looks like there are some easy to approach 'fishing holes' where you can fish of the shore or a dock so we'll go back next week to try them out.

Last Saturday was 'Music in the Park'- night in West Yellowstone. Since it had a country/folk theme we dressed the part again!
I'd packed a picnic but somehow forgot to bring the chicken. The good thing was that there was a KFC right behind us so we got us a few pieces as a substitute. The bad thing was that, as has been my experience previously, their chicken was greasy, tough and mostly breading :(
Oh well...

We'd arrived early to get a good spot (and have dinner) but to our astonishment we were almost the first ones to show up! It wasn't until the first band was good and well underway that a handful of other people showed and even when the second band started playing at 8pm only a small crowd had gathered.

So Weird! We've attended quite a few of these open-air concerts and they're always very popular.
There are loads of tourists here at the moment so that can't be 'it'. I guess they come for the Park and go to bed early?
Well, they missed out on some good music. We had a great time!
I always like these events, they're such great, relaxed, summer evenings! Children and dogs running around and playing, locals meeting each other, talking and laughing, some good food and good music..... aah, the good life!
Since I'm on facebook (Yeah, it finally happened) I sometimes forget where I posted what and so I guess I forgot to show Sadie's new 'wheels' in this blog.
Upon hearing that she had troubles getting around these days, somebody on one of the pet forums that I periodically scan through, donated her recently departed dog's wheel chair!
She worked at UPS so even the shipping was free if you can believe it. There are some awesome people out there!
I've promised her we'll 'pay it forward' when the time comes.

Here she goes on her 'maiden run'!

Not too sure, but she did great!
This 'walking wheel' wheelchair is totally adjustable in height and length and the front and back harness as well.
We'll be tweaking it a little bit for a while but so far so good. I was worried about her 'doing her business' but she has no problem just doing 'it' more or less standing up.
I guess when you have to go, .... you go!
Next, I just have to tell you about the bread I baked! It is out of this world! Honestly!
I was looking for a recipe for the 'pretzel bread' I used to eat a lot when I lived in Switzerland. It keeps amazing me, the things you find when you start googling. Thousands of recipes!
Anywho, I choose one and found that you actually have to boil this bread in water with baking soda, after the first rising!
Really? Yeah, really! And it's also really easy! Who knew?
I made some salty ones and also 2 with sugar and cinnamon. Boy, oh, boy, were they good :)!
Very good with (homemade) pea soup as you can see.
(The bread on the bottom right is just a 'normal' sandwich bread. Came out a little pale but tasted good)
Since we're on the subject of food (I almost start to sound like a Hess, don't I :) this is how we eat most meals. Outside!
Desserts are easy when your name is James, but I think it's getting a tad out of hand, don't you?

Due to some big fires in Northern Idaho we have some smoke drifting in our valley at the moment. It lays a rather spooky glow over everything during the day but even more so around sunset. Quite pretty though.
Fire danger is extremely high at the moment since it has been a very dry summer. I hope we won't have any close by or in the Park where as they have to close (parts of) it!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Madison Arm, part of Hebgen Lake
Last weekend we went to see the 'Mountain Man Rendezvous' encampment that had set up camp in town.
Although we've been to a couple of them before and find
them usually a little cheesy it's fun for a little stroll along the booths on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

There was a Trader's Row set up just like the old days, and all vendors wore their period costumes to add to the atmosphere.
Musicians provided some live entertainment and they held black powder shoots and tomahawk and knife demonstrations.


It makes you appreciate some of the challenges and dangers that existed in the days of the mountain men.

We had lunch at this little 'traveling kitchen'.
The very nice couple that own it are a very entertaining couple and provided us with a lot of 'insider'-information about these gatherings.
Every little thing they show or do has to be 'period' except for some modern food restrictions they have to comply too (which explains the bottle of salsa).

I finally got to taste the 'scottish eggs' that John from 'Going Gently' is addicted to and I must say it's an excellent snack!
The Indian Tacos were OK but I make better ones myself if I may say so ;)

Afterwards we hit the Outlet Store in town since we could use some new shirts and sweaters. Because of being 'locals' we get 10% off on top of the already very decent prices so we got us 2 hooded sweaters with zip, 1 hoody without and 3 T-shirts for under $50. Not bad!

The next morning we set out to drive the little 12 mile loop that starts just a mile away from us and that that brings you out to Madison Arm (or more like a 'finger'), part of beautiful Hebgen Lake.


Hebgen Lake has been called the premier still-water (fly) fishing lake in Montana.  Apparently it has a healthy population of browns, cutthroats and rainbows (trouts).
We hope to find out next week how healthy exactly when the fishing poles and reels I bought on E-bay will arrive!

Although very scenic it was far from a 'smooth' ride because of the typical washboard bumps you find here on most of the unpaved roads.
The stiff suspension of our heavy truck makes it even harder, so you either have to drive real slow (5m/hr) or 'ride the tops'. We tried both ways and definitely liked the faster (35m/hr) speed better!

South Fork of the Madison river

On the workamper front everything is moving along very well.
James has finished the Handicapped Shower in the main building. Out of 2 regular showers and some dead space he created this beautiful spacious bathroom.
It's big enough for a wheel chair and because it has 2 shower heads/areas it doubles as a 'family shower'. Very handy if you have a couple of young kids! 



As for me, I wasn't going to bake at all but what do you do when somebody brings fresh rhubarb into the office with a note that says 'FREE'?!..
 .... Right, you run out for some strawberries and you make your husband's favorite pie, ... well, I'll have a little piece :)


Also I have discovered something disturbing. Do you know the summer is dwindling down? I walked by the meadows and all of a sudden noticed a lot of flowers have gone to seed and some typical end-of-the-summer (dare I say fall?) ones are appearing, like Goldenrod.
Now I must say, I like fall, in fact, it's my favorite season, I loooove fall, but ...jeez...already...?

This is the same meadow in the spring/summer  (L) and how it looks right now (R) ....
Oh well, c'est la vie!

There are some puzzling things in this collage. For me, at least.
I know the one on the left is an Indian Paintbrush and the 'shroom' on the bottom right a King Boletus but what's that stuff in the middle or the very prickly sort of thistle at the top right?
He or she who can tell me earns a piece of my Strawberry-Rhubarb pie! (Pick-up only :)