There is so much to be thankful for in this life  and I don’t ever want to forget it.


3628.  A day at home doing chores as a family.

3629.  Good family walk/talk.

3630.  J joining the adults to celebrate a 75th birthday party after being specially invited by the birthday girl.

3631.  Studying the Christmas story in detail.

3632.  Forgiveness from friends after a mis-step.

3633.  Support from Andy in an emotionally difficult time.

3634.  Connecting with Alicia.


3635.  Plenty of rain to keep the countryside fresh and green well into the fall.

3636.  Bumper crop of apples – enough to share with friends

3637.  J getting to participate in homecoming traditions for first time.

3638.  Good advice from Jeremy.

3639.  Knowledge that God is in control when things seem to be flying out of control.

3640.  Paul’s good music leadership at worship.



3641.  Cooking with fresh eggs

3642.  Beautiful place to live all year-long – stunning views of storms coming in.

3643.  Family who lives close enough to visit for a weekend.


Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Extended Family, Faith, Fall, Gallatin River, gratitude, J, Montana, Multitude on Mondays, Outdoors, Photography, River, Thankful to God | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



These were taken on the first day of fall, which seems so appropriate.


It wasn’t as cold standing in the water that morning as I thought it would be, so that was a plus!


Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Fall, Gallatin River, Harvest, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, River, Rural Thursdays | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


sm-3852The Beaten Path is a well used path from Cook City Montana (North East corner of Yellowstone) to East Rosebud Lake Montana through the Beartooth Mountains and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  It is usually backpacked in a couple or three days.  But we felt up to the challenge of doing the whole thing in one day.

We got to the trail head at 6:20 a.m., took a few photos and started walking.  It was barely light outside.

sm-3855This hike was a jubilee – celebration of 7 x 7 years – but some of us were older than 49 (not me).

sm-3862Much of the trail was mucky from the rains the days before.

sm-3869There was morning mist on the meadows.






And above 8000 feet the wild flowers were still blooming on August 16th.



sm-3896The lakes were stunning and often dotted with the endless circles of fish jumping.

sm-3897But we didn’t have time to wet a fly, had to keep moving to get it all done in a day, since that was the challenge.


Sometimes it was hard to tell where the lake ended and the river began.


Sometimes I was ahead of others . . .


And sometimes I brought up the rear.








It was 10 miles up to the highest pass – where we had lunch at a little after noon.  Only 16 miles to go!



There was snow way up there at 10,000 feet.




One of us may have learned that snow in August is not particularly soft to plop down into, but a snow angel was made regardless of the hard landing.





It was all beautiful! And then . . .sm-4022

We ran into two of the ladies’ husbands who were hiking the whole thing in reverse.  It was a nice little short visit – we didn’t even sit down.  They still were headed up and we were about a mile into our downward trek.







Waterfalls were a theme on the 16 mile down hill section – I lost count, but I bet it was more than a dozen waterfalls, some of them so large that I couldn’t fit them into the view of my 50mm lens.  I selected this lens because it was the lightest weight one I have, and mounted on my camera it all fit into my fanny pack worn turned to the front for easy access.


Along with the waterfalls, the views on the down hill section continued to be breath-taking.  If we had more time I’m sure each of us would have jumped in a lake and/or river, and would have just sat on a rock and contemplated the beauty of God’s creation as it was being revealed to us.  But we were trying to be done by dark (which we were, but just barely).


The last 4 or 5 miles were pretty rocky on the down hill, and it was a bear to deal with as by that time the knees were hurting pretty bad.  Nothing 800 mg of ibuprofen couldn’t address, but the going was slow as the trail was steep (lots of stair-step type trail with uneven landings and rocks galore!)  With about 2 miles of this left my Andy met us on the trail.sm-4091

By the time we finished the sun was gone from the canon, but the peaks were still glowing.

When we were all done Andy had ice cream sandwiches waiting for us kept frozen with dry ice, and then he took us all out to a famous burger place called the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe Montana.  It was delicious.

Amazingly, not as sore as I expected the next day, and by 48 hours later, not sore at all.  Those knees recover quicker than I think they will.

So, this hike was the reason I hiked and hiked and hiked all summer long – I was in training.  Now just back to daily walks, and the 4 – 5 miles seems like such a small endeavor now.

Categories: Bear Tooth Mountains, Beaten Path, flowers, Hiking, Montana, Montana summers, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Summer, Travel | Leave a comment



Despite the fact that White Sulphur Springs had the worst breakfast in the world – all I can described is powdered eggs over cooked and grape jelly as the only option on toast – we stuck around for a little exploring before heading West.  This deer was following his friends through the fresh snow, and we thought he was a bit friendly.


Once we hit the road it was ranch land everywhere.  We were headed into the Big Belt mountains, but there was some flat land along the way.


Once in awhile we’d catch some color besides white brown and blue (see below) but really it was a very simple, uncomplicated looking landscape – and beautiful too!

IMG_5945smAfter we crossed the Big Belts we dropped into Townsend and then followed the Missouri River into Toston – practically a ghost town, but not quite one yet.  The bridge over the Missouri into Toston is an old one, and this is the spot where Tank fell into the Missouri last winter.


The water moves pretty fast, and there are ice islands floating throughout.  But what really caught my attention was that it appeared that the structures under the water were actually covered with ice.  Don’t have a photo to share of that, but it did amaze me – the idea of ice under water just doesn’t seem quite right.  It looked like moss covering the rocks, only it was greenish white and smooth like ice.


As soon as I saw Toston from across the river I knew I’d be outside of the car and Andy would be waiting awhile.  It was just building after building of decay and disrepair – all of the type that makes for some of the most interesting photos in my book.  But the funny thing was that half the buildings showed evidence of still being occupied – smoke coming from the ceiling, dogs tied in the yard, that type of stuff.  To honor the privacy of those folks, I tried not to point my lens directly at them.  But my heart was heavy to think that someone was in those structures when the temps were in the lower single digits because they just didn’t look weather worthy.


This one is right on the “main drag” which is a dirt road running parallel to the railroad tracks, which in turn run parallel to the Missouri.


A side view of that same building (couldn’t take the other side, which had like an old porch on the second floor, because it appeared occupied).

IMG_5988smThis little window in a small building next to the previous one, mystified me.  It looks so old and so abandon, but how do those curtains, fully exposed to the elements, retain their colors?  Is it recently abandon?  Where the colors once even brighter?  Did someone try to create privacy in there more recently than the rest of the decline in the building?  There is a story in there somewhere, but not one that I will ever know.

IMG_5996smNow doesn’t this look like it was once a real nice place?  Trees in the yard, still standing straight, right on that main drag I described earlier – beautiful views of the river by the way.  Another story I just won’t know.

IMG_6001smA cute little starter home for someone, once upon a time.

IMG_6002smI imagine this was some old single guys place, maybe an old crusty miner or something.

IMG_6005smThis beauty is actually right on the Missouri (across the road and the railroad tracks from the others.  Looks like it once ws very stately.  Probably not that long ago either – notice the light fixture on the pole on the left side, and the cross-hatch lattice boards along the foundation.  So sad that it is now in such disrepair.  Wonder if it flooded and that is why it was abandon – you can see there river there behind the shrubs on the right side.

The we left Toston and headed towards home. 

IMG_6028smthose horses aren’t real – sculptures.  The sign calls them Bleu Horses (http://www.bleuhorses.com/) and they are by Jim Dolan who I think resides in our own Gallatin Valley.  You can click on the link to see one up close.  Unfortunately, I think last month one or more of them were stolen, but recovered.  Wish I could have hiked up there to get a closer look, but at that point Andy was just ready to get home, and I didn’t have good hiking-through-drifted-snow boots with me.

And that was our trip.  There are lots more photos that might show up someday, but these past few posts just give you a taste of the travel part of it.

Categories: Art, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Travel, Vacation, Winter | Leave a comment



Yesterday I was treated to a morning with my camera and a car.  I headed to the Headwaters of the Missouri River – where the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin rivers come together to form the Missouri River.  These photos were taken literally 25 yards down stream from where the Gallatin joins in the already merged Madison and Jefferson – so 25 yards down river from where it starts.  Given the role the Missouri River places in our history and economic/transportation issues in this country, it always amazes me to stand where the big river begins.


It was lightly snowing, but in the low 30’s so pretty comfortable for being outside.  Quiet too.  I don’t think I saw a single other person when I was there – unless you count the train driver (I’ll post those photos later this week). 


As much of the  country is revisiting uncomfortably cold temperatures it is chilling to look at these photos and know how cold that water is – reminds me of the old song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot.  I know that song is about a lake, not a river, but the chill, the wind, the grey of my experience out there yesterday just seems to express so much of the feeling of that song.


I hope everyone is able to stay warm – it’s about zero here this evening. 


Categories: initiate, Outdoors, Photography, River, Winter | 1 Comment


The ice dams have broken – just in time for new ones to form as we are expecting sub-zero highs for tomorrow and who knows how long that will last.sm-2846

Anyway, yesterday I took J and his friend down to look at the ice dams and the river was returning to more its more usual state.sm-2849

It looks as though our friends’ home will remain safe this time around.sm-2850

I’m supposed to be looking for something to photograph that reflects “New/fresh” because that is the photo prompt I’ve got this week.  So far . . . nothing on that.  And I’m the one who made up the photo prompts.sm-2848

\But while we were out looking at the ice dams (or what was left behind by them) yesterday the sky was doing this:sm-2924

Honestly, I thought it was pretty dang cool.

Categories: Daily life, Gallatin River, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Winter | Leave a comment


Had to learn to spell this word to make it my word of the year.  (Learning something goes along with the family word, so I’m okay with that).sm-8234

My first word for a year was Proactive, and it was such a success that I thought I’d revisit a portion of the concept this year with Initiate.

I envision this word reminding me not to just think and dream, but to do.  Start the things I want to do.  I find that I’ll think of an idea and then freeze.  Maybe I wonder around the house, look at the items needed to implement the job, and not do anything.  Sometimes I do that so long I forget the idea and nothing ever happens.sm-8236

This happens with my interactions with people too.  I get shy and don’t mention, invite or comment, and the conversation never happens. I need to initiate the contact, conversation, interaction rather than wish I had.

The dictionary says that initiate means “to cause  or facilitate the beginning of” – yep, that is what I want to do.  I can’t necessarily control the out come, but I can get it started.sm-2798

This year I want to initiate the ideas.  Who knows, maybe the implementation will take a different direction that I originally thought, but it will go somewhere.

My first act of initiating?  Well, these photos sprinkled throughout this post.sm-2800

See the first two I took way back when we had the cold snap here at the beginning of December.  They are photos of ice dams that formed on the Gallatin River and some of the results.  I heard about the issue on the news and drove over there one morning on my way into town just to check it out.  What was significant was that these photos are all of the property of my brother’s former boss – and I would say his friend.  The building was where my brother worked many days (before the shop got moved to a new location).  Anyway, my thought at the time was “I should post these on the blog because I’m sure Daniel would be interested to know what was happening to Russ and Lorie’s property.  But I never did anything.sm-2801

Today Andy and I were back over that way for a little walk and I took the rest of the photos in this post.  I was shocked to see that the ice dams have not cleared, that part of the river is still clogged, and the water is flowing on Russ and Lorie’s property as well as on many of their neighbor’s properties.   While there is a beauty to the river, and it looks like Russ and Lorie’s actual house is still livable, the damage to property is stunning, and still in progress.  (Daniel helped to do a major remodel on that house and if it flooded it would be ruining some of his handiwork as well as really harming our friends and their family).sm-2821

So, Daniel, these shots are for you, and I am initiating (better late than never) showing them to you by posting them here on my blog.  An idea delayed, but not forgotten!   I haven’t spoken to Russ or Lorie, but it appears their house itself stayed dry and is being lived in through this mess.sm-2822

That is what I’m hoping for with this word.

Categories: Daily life, Extended Family, Gallatin River, initiate, Learning, One Little Word, Outdoors, Photography, proactive, River, snow, Winter | 2 Comments


Five photos from my unexpected trip to Idaho last week/weekend to be with a friend in need.  It wasn’t a photo grip, but we did take a walk at one point and I whipped out my camera along the way – walking, talking and photos, what better way to spend an afternoon.IMG_1106_7852sm






Categories: Autumn, Fall, Outdoors, Photography, River, Travel | 2 Comments


IMG_3945smSome days I am filled with items to be thankful for and joyfully pull out my journal and write them down like an inventory of what comes so natural.  A sort of praising God for all He has done.

But other days I pull out my journal and work hard to find something to be thankful for.  It can be a struggle.  Not because there are few things to be grateful for but because I’m struggling with an attitude not consistent with gratitude, or a hurt set of feelings.  In these situations the creation of the list is a grasp for health, a reach to get out of the pit.  In these cases God uses this list as a comfort to my heart.

The list I’m posting today is full of both kinds of items – and really, I think that is always true, but I’m not sure I’ve shared that here before.

IMG_3911sm2256.  Being involved in my church leadership – even if it is a relatively small role.

2257.  J’s talkative nature.

2258.  J’s saying “For the first time school was fun – I was sad to leave.” 

2259.  Great karate program with wonderful teachers.

2260.  Afternoon thunderstorms dumping moisture on the land.

2261.  Watching J learn a new Kata in karate

2262.  Running into Mick unexpectedly.

2263.  Carrots from our garden.

2264.  Bus comes a little later in the morning than last year, giving a more relaxed pace to the morning.

2265.  J’s photos being usable

2266.  J’s continued success with his start to school

2267.  lens returned to F-11 without incident.

IMG_3915sm2268.  Eva and Daniel’s willingness to help with rental deposit

2269.  J’s getting his green belt in karate

2270.  Supportive people at karate

2271.  Yummy granola

2272.  Andy’s good billing in August

2273.  E’s strength to testify for a 3rd time.

2274.  Andy’s good lawyering on E’s behalf

2275.  Affirmation from teachers re: J’s good start to school year

2276.  There are good/great photos of A. H. for her senior photo

2277.  Taking the long-term view of discipline issues – he’ll be thankful in years to come that we made him keep a commitment

2278.  Funny card for Andy

2279.  Family photo session that was fun for all of us


2280.  J biked down the Langhor road without falling

2281.  home-grown carrots for dinner

2282.  Gift of an apple pie

2283.  Andy’s resolving cases

2284.  Time to make good dinners two nights in a row

2285.  Cottonwoods with yellow fall leaves earlier than usual

2286.  Good drums for J to learn on.

2287.  Free chickens coming in a month – time to build that coop

2288.  Hand written letter from a friend

2289.  Compliments on a hair cut

IMG_3868sm2290.  Brene Brown’s teaching on shame and vulnerability

2291.  Bible study meeting again.

2292.  Having what we need even when finances are tight.

2293.  J having N over again – and N wants to be at our house.

2294.  Three pumpkins on the vine.

2295.  Beautiful clouds in the trees around the reservoir

2296.  Learning about finding mushrooms

2297.  hearing my wind chime and being reminded of Oakhurst

2298.  Dogs curled up at my feet

2299.  Plum jam made with free plums

2300.  J’s approach to school right now.


******* EDITED TO ADD:  Got a comment that this photo looked like the fish was standing on the bridge.  Made me laugh because I think it is a reflection of how as the photographer we know what is going on and and read that into the photo.  I took this photo the morning I was down at the river, and a very nice cute rotund older fisherman asked me if I wanted to take a photo of the fish he caught – it was still on the hook, but you can’t see the line in the photo.  I obliged his request and it created a happy little memory for me, so I posted the photo thinking it was self explanatory.  Obviously not.  A happy memory, not a clearly conveyed by the photos. ****

2301.  Beautiful stormy skies with a pink glow at sunset

2302.  Lightening is accompanied by rain these days – no dry lightning

2303.  A very light local fire season.

2304.  Encouragement that we can keep chickens in the winter without having to get electricity out to the coop

2305.  A bit of a walk early in the morning – the self-discipline to get up very early to make it happen.

2306.  Encouraging Family Life Today program

2302.  Good time with Ellie and her friends taking photos

2303.  Open hearted talk with Elsa – listening to a 13-year-old girl is a rare opportunity for me

Categories: Autumn, Daily life, Faith, Fall, Multitude on Mondays, Outdoors, Photography, River, Thankful to God | 1 Comment



It is now a known fact with a certain member of our family that if you find a beautiful spot along the creek to cool your head you may risk getting brain freeze.


It is also now a known fact that brain freeze hurts.


And we all know that brain freeze can make a person contort their face in particularly odd ways – apparently it makes you stick your tongue out even if you don’t want to.


But fortunately it is also something that you can recover from.


Categories: Daily life, Family Fun, J, kids, Outdoors, Photography, River, Spring | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.