Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken Wrangling

Because my chicken run was wide open and available for a fox to come on in and have a chicken smorgasbord, I moved my chickens to Camp Ann's while I was away in Montana. They had a nice secure run there, playing, scratching and pecking, doing crafts in the day, singing around the campfire at night. Upon returning home, we (Forrest, Kim and I) finished putting up the chicken wire around the run, brought in fresh hay and water, making the coop cozy and inviting and hopefully fox proof.

It was then time to get on over to Ann's to wrangle those chickens into boxes and bring 'em on home. We donned our chicken wrangling gear, hopped into our sportsvagen and off we went. Those chickens had grown a third more in just 10 days and were much quicker. When I brought them over I had gotten all 12 chickens into one box all by myself. The three of us had a hard time getting them into the box and keeping them in. As soon as we'd open the box to put a chicken in, the previous chicken would hop out. One can't be 'chicken' when grabbing a chicken, just lunge and hang on tight. We finally managed to get the 11 chicks into the box but Flopsy would not fit so Forrest held her in his lap for the short ride home. He thought she would like to feel the breeze in her comb so he gently held her out the window. And she DID like it!

At first though Forrest was worried that Flopsy would poop on his beige pants, but she was a good girl and they both got comfortable.

After introducing them to their new/old coop and run, they all settled in nicely and were thrilled to see all the greens to eat.

When I went to check on them the first night, all the chicks tried to get on the roost that they had fit on 2 weeks previously. Since they had grown so much, they had to squish. The white chick had graciously spread her wings over the two beside her, taking them 'under her wing'.

Her name is now Angel.

Angel was tired of the flash going off, disturbing her sleep, so enough for now and good night. Sleep tight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Montana, Random Musings

One of my favorite spots in Missoula is 'The Break', a cool, rustic, westerny coffee house. We spend hours here, visiting friends, doing internet stuff and of course, drinking their fine coffee.
It has exposed brick walls, heavy wood furniture and great artwork and their scones are to die for.

I had lots of mom time, which was awesome since I get to see her so seldom.

I'm head-ed for trouble!

Forrest is taking a summer job at a local vineyard, 25 miles northwest of Missoula. It is right on the Clark Fork River so Clark Fork Vineyard is an obvious choice for a name.

They are just in planting mode right now so the grapes won't be ready for a couple more years. A deck is being built to look over the river, for future wine sipping.

Along with grapes, hops are being grown. It's hard to see, but the hand made gate sports the word, hops.

This is the 'cabin' where Forrest and his dog Casey will be living. We visited for a day of food and wine consumption. A friend of the owner, Conrad, seems to be the personal chef so Forrest will be well fed. Conrad and Jorge (the owner) made a huge dish of paella for us all and we had a nice evening of wining and dining.

Happy times

Along with seeing lots of friends, we met some new ones. Kim, Forrest's girlfriend, had her family visiting from Michigan to celebrate Kim's sister's graduation. Above is Kim's brother-in-law and their little blues brother, Finn.

We attended Becky's wedding (most awesome wedding ever, really!) 2 years ago and now Becky and Gary have an adorable little cowboy, Mathias. Many of Becky's friends knit (as does Becky) so there are plenty of hand knit items around.

Including matching (?) baby and momma socks.

Seen across the street from Becky's. This is one way to get around....a St. Bernard pulling some guy in a wheelchair.

When Forrest got his bike stolen he got this amazing retro Schwin as a replacement. I fell in love with it and totally took it over. What a nice ride!

He also put another bike together at a place that has a heap of bike parts that for a fee, one can assemble an entire bike. Since he recovered his stolen bike, he now has 3 bikes. Yep, he's our son!

So after a week of partying and travel and having family constantly around, Forrest can chill and look back on his four amazing years at University of Montana. We're proud of you, boy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Glacier Gladness

Ahhhhh! Glacier National Park. This is just one awesome place!

We were able to spend a couple days in this northern part of Montana, relaxing...

throwing rocks....

...and hiking. The Going to the Sun road is only open to the Avalanche Lake trail head due to snow plowing. One can ride bikes on the closed road (until you hit too much snow) but we didn't have bikes so hiking it was. It's an easy 3-mile hike up to the lake through dense forests and rushing streams.

We stopped along the way to photograph small woodland flora and fauna.

Glacier lilies that have just shot up as the snow melted. Edible and very tasty indeed.

This is a harlequin duck, rare to see and such a delight. We watched it paddle around in the stream, ducking under the water for nibbles until it got caught in the rapid current and was whisked downstream.

Plenty of mountain goats were grazing way up high as there is an abundance of fresh green grass to munch on.

One of Forrest's friends, Eric, was able to join us for our stay.

Dad and boys

and finally making it to Avalanche Lake.

Avalanche Lake lies in a cirque high in the mountains. It was glass like this day with warm temperatures and no breeze.

These awesome vans called Jammers (named that because of having to 'jam' the gears) take tourists around the park. Here Forrest is buffing one up, readying it for its turn on the road.

Time to leave as a big thunderstorm approaches from the west.

Back to our little Swiss chalet where we ate great food cooked by Houston, drank wine, played games, read books and tallied some good down time.

Night scene across the 'pond' from our chalet.

Mom spent pleasurable time drinking wine and reading.

Our little chalet was called 'Moose'.

Taking a hike along the river, we came through the ranger's village, all neat and tidy. It was hard to leave Glacier as we hit it at a good time as most of the park was not open so there were no crowds. But with Forrest staying out in Montana, we'll soon be back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Off to Montana

Last week we took off for Missoula, Montana where our youngest, Forrest, is graduating from college. Yay!
Anyone flying into Denver knows this scene. It looks like a Cirque de Soleil training camp.

I was surprised to see so much snow still. We had a clear day so had nice views of the Rockies.

We knew we were out west when walking around town, we saw these two guys tanning, and I don't mean getting a tan.

Three rivers run through Missoula, the Blackfoot, Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers. The Clark Fork rushes through the downtown area and a few years ago, some boulders were strategically placed to form a nice wave for kayakers to play in.

Many competitions take place here, with kayakers doing spins, flips and moves like backstab, blunt and roundhouse. All can be viewed from the pedestrian bridge or from a platform overlooking the river.

There are many micro breweries in town which my boys all know. The names of the beers lean towards the funny....Olde Bongwater, different from Fresh Bongwater, Eddy Out, Moose Drool, Dancing Trout, Cold Smoke, Trout Slayer, Scape Goat, Dragon Breath, Hopnosis, Faceplant, Dumptruck. They know them all.

Graduation day dawned clear and cool. This was the University of Montana's first outdoor graduation and we couldn't have asked for a better day.

The ceremony included a Native American chant/song, performed by native elders.

My proud clan, although we were missing the oldest son, Aramin. Forrest is staying on in Missoula, working at a vineyard along the Clark Fork River then grad school at some point. Congrats Forrest!