Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Susan sitting by the fire in the morning writing on her computer. The mornings have been pretty cool the last week. We've had a fire every morning to drive out the morning chill. We've also had to cover some of the plants in the garden at night (mostly corn, tomatoes and peppers).

Susan mowed around the grapvines we planted. "Mowed" is used loosely since it's mostly low growing shrubs and small sticks on the ground.

These are some "cones" we're trying to make. We need some lightweight plexiglass but haven't been able to find any. These are made out of shelf lining but they're kind of flimsy so they need some support inside. Ideally they'll stand abut two feet tall when done right.

Friday, July 2 through Tuesday, July 6

The holiday weekend was a flurry of activity with kids, friends, and neighbors visiting. Today (Wednesday) is the first day we’ve had without rain. We picked up a guy at the airport on Thursday to bring him to Eureka to take part in a bicycle ride that will follow the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. He’s part of a group that’s been hashing out the details for almost a year. They took off and rode from Eureka to the border then back down to a campground in National Forest land. Susan and our youngest son went out to see them the first night. From there they took the long way around going east then south then west again to camp at Red Meadow Lake in the Flathead National Forest on Friday night. Susan and I drove out with a case of beer and a sack full of cookies to meet them there. It’s 18 miles from our cabin to the lake as the crow flies. It’s almost 50 miles by road. It took us 2 ½ hours to drive there over our mountain roads. About ten miles are on paved roads. The rest are classified by the Forest Service as “unimproved,” “seasonal,” “not maintained for public use,” and in places, “four-wheel-drive recommended.” When we got there about half had opted for an easier route to the next destination so only four were at the lake. (To be fair they covered some horrendous terrain that day over rough, mountain roads, lots of up and down, and in cold rain for part of the day.) They were so cold they didn’t even want the beer. We brought some things back to mail home for a couple of them. They’d met a couple camping there from out-of-state so there was a good fire going and the people camping offered to let them put their gear in the van for the night so they didn’t have to hang it from the trees. There was a lot of fresh bear sign around the lake.

It’s been interesting talking to them. One guy was surprised to see so many trees. He’s from the east coast and the environmental wackos had told him that logging had pretty much eliminated the forests in Montana. Most of the time the trees are so thick you can only see about 50 yards and they’ll be that way all through Montana. They’re scared spitless of bears as well. Of course they’ll be riding through some of the highest concentrations of grizzlies in the lower 48 but still they’ll be lucky to even see one.

We gave them the cookies and the good news that most of tomorrow’s ride would be downhill. If you ever plan a trip like that start in the late spring at the Mexican border and go north the rest of the summer. They’ve been riding alongside old snowdrifts and may be snowed on before they leave the state. We don’t even go backpacking until late July because we got tired of hitting snow in the back country.

Like a dummy I didn’t bring a fishing rod. It’s a good lake for trout. It was another 2 ½ hours driving home afterward.

I put a lot of time into finishing up an article. It’s a common subject so it was difficult to get a slant to it that was fresh (and marketable). When I finally got the text finished I worked all day Monday on getting the photos taken and drawings made then wrote photo captions and the cover letter and put everything on disk with paper back-ups and got the package ready to mail. And all for an article that’ll probably pay $250.00. I sure am thankful for digital cameras. It makes my writing life here a lot easier. I have four more partially completed articles that I need to get done. Now that the planting is finished we both have more time to write.

We had kids up the fourth to watch and shoot fireworks. This is the first time I can remember when we didn’t have to worry about fires. Everything is green and wet. A neighbor came over with a new toy in the afternoon. He bought a Glock 45 automatic and I got to help break it in. It’s the first time I ever shot a Glock and they are nice. It’s the best double action trigger pull I’ve ever seen on a semi-auto. For someone who has so little experience with firearms he’s a pretty good shot. But then he’s the type of person who is probably going to be good at whatever he sets his mind to. It was a pleasant couple of hours with him and his son, with the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air. He’s probably going to start reloading also.

Our youngest son took off in the evening to help get the fireworks display set up where he works at a private golf course. We watched the display later in the evening then came home to shoot our own.

Monday was slow getting started which tends to happen when we stay up late the night before! I spent the day finishing up the article (as I already said). Susan got some work done in the garden, mowing around the new grape vines, planting more potatoes, turnips and beets and weeding.

We rode bicycles into town Tuesday to mail the article and pick up our mail at the post office. We decided to stop in at a new little eatery outside of town. The owners had a place in a nearby town (wide spot in the road) way off the highway but sold it and opened up shop on the highway. They offer pizza, pastries and a few other things. The pizza is very good but expensive and it’s not fast food. Each one is made from scratch. We were there over an hour. They have breakfast menus also so the next time we go it will probably be in the morning. We took our time and did a lot of “socializing” while in town. You get to know most of the main characters and usually spend awhile gabbing at each stop. We like life in rural, out-of-the-way places.

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