the house



Not only is my husband a great attorney (if you ever need a criminal defense attorney in Montana or California, he’s your guy, but I hope you don’t need a criminal defense attorney), he also took up salvage art.  I don’t know if “salvage art” is a real term, but I’m going with it because it is the best way to describe this emerging talent.


He found this red and white door in the dumpster at our office (thus the term salvage art) and brought it home.  I was thrilled and began to ponder how we could use such a simple but cool item around the house.  Next thing I know, he’s tied it to the aspen trees with a piece of old dryer vent tubing. 

And there you have it.  My husband is a salvage artist.  I sometimes wonder what our neighbors think of us… but that is a whole other post someday.

Categories: Andy, Art, Daily life, doors, Outdoors, Photography, salvage art, snow, the house | Tags: , | 3 Comments


sm (6 of 8)This morning I got to go out into the front yard and take some photos of wolf tracks.  I was only this far away from the house (see photo below) at most, and many of the tracks were about 1/2 way between where I was when I took the photo and the house:sm (7 of 8)

So, that means the wolf making the tracks was probably less than 50 yards from the house yesterday/last night.

The tracks were discovered by Andy and Tank out on their evening walk.  It was a pretty big deal and J went out and used his old IPOD to get some night time photos.  I however was lazy and waited until this morning, which might not have been best as the night was warm and windy (probably above freezing most of the night with a storm coming in) so the snow deteriorated greatly over night.  Still, these are the photos I did get when I strolled out there this morning:

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Nothing too spectacular as prints go because of the melting snow, but still, a wolf, in my front yard.  That is pretty cool and scary all at the same time.

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J, of course, would like to shoot it in the name of protecting his chickens.  Andy and I aren’t on his page with that one.  While we understand the ranchers struggle with the wolves, we don’t think just killing them because they exist is very wise or good stewardship of God’s creation.  So, the rifle stays in the house.

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We haven’t actually seen the wolf, but our neighbor has – he is of J’s mind-set in case you wondered.  He’ll shoot on sight if he gets a chance.

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Impressive how long the claws are, huh?

We’ve had a wolf in the neighborhood before, but it was a number of years ago.  I saw it one day driving to the post office, and my brother saw it several mornings in a row in the same field as he went to work. 


Joining the rurality blog hop this week.

Categories: chickens, Daily life, J, Outdoors, Photography, Rural Thursdays, snow, the house, Winter, wolves | 4 Comments

GRATITUDE – Tuesday February 11

Sometimes it feels like our lives are a wreck buried in the deep winter snow.  We don’t have it all together as a family.untitled-9328And that’s a fact! 

The laundry is flung on the guest room bed left unfolded for weeks at a time.  The mountain grows three feet high and we pick our way through looking for what we need each morning.

After we get those wrinkled and crumpled clothes on our shivering bodies, we only have to walk around the house and the white dog hair from Tank jumps onto our  finery like moths to a flame.

And now we are beautifully attired and ready to face a world that wonders just what goes on in our house.


The barn door came off its rails but it is open only 4 – 5 inches.   None of us can squeeze in to get the needed old client files so safely tucked away in boxes under the silver tarp in the beautiful barn loft.   Might wait  until spring to get that door re-hung, because the snow blown up against it has hardened under the weight of more drifting snow and the ice formed by a warm day causing some melting only to be met with days like today where it is -31 when we get up, and every drop of moisture outside is solid!  That door is shut for some time to come.

We howl at the hurts of years ago come back to haunt us.  And we tire from the effort of battling demons old and new.

We  struggle on, alternating optimism for victory  with the sinking feelings that utter defeat is only moments away.

We are a mess.

untitled-9334Yet each day we look around and there are the gifts from God – the little and big ones custom designed to care for us, encourage us, provide for us and allow us to feel loved.

Even in our messy broken, crumpled, defeated state, we know we are loved by a God who is there with us every moment of every day.  Here is the proof:2665.  Healthy baby for Daniel and Stacy

2666.  Drive time with Andy

2667.  short but fun drive with Andy to look at a crime scene

2668.  Arrison curling up next to me on the couch – he’s getting cuddly after all.

2669.  Home before full dark – a rare event in the winter.

2670.  Time with Shawna talking and taking photos

2671.  Completing a large volunteer project

2672.  sharing something I really like and getting good feedback and affirmation.

2673.  leftovers for dinner making an easy evening.

untitled-93362674.  Talking with Daniel about the birth of his new daughter

2675.  J able to express his feelings

2676.  J wanting/seeking out time with wise adults to process traumatic events

2677.  J feeling affirmed by his teachers in a challenging social situation.

2678.  Andy and I unified in helping J through a tough situation

2679.  Access to an important resource on short notice

2680.  Evening at home with Marissa joining us for social time.

2681.  Tank sleeping with Andy on the couch

2682.  Sophie, Arnika and Arrison sleeping on the foot of our bed

2683.  DK’s gangly body playing basketball so very well.

2684.  J’s insight into people

2685.  Solid legal advise for someone important at the death of a loved one

2686.  R & J’s good care for Liz

2687.  Connecting with Sarah W. over aging in-law issues

2688.  The kindness of “strangers” at MCS events

2689.  J standing firm for what he believes is the right way to handle a troubled student’s harassment

2690.  A new-to-us bigger BBQ – free hand-me-down

2691.  Beautiful spring-like day with sunshine

2692. Chickens laying eggs consistently.

2693.  Able to watch a missed episode of Downton Abbey for free on PBS website

2694.  clean sheets on our bed

2695.  Arnika cuddled in the dish towel drawer.

2696.  Half a day spent taking photos

2697.  Bill helping Andy move the stove

2698.  Helen seeing good things in J

2699.  Time with LP

2700.  Beautiful clear colors of the world in the late afternoon sunlight

2701.  EKL thinks to send me photos of Liana

2702.  Chance to chat with AA

2703.  God is a God of order and the world works well because of it.

2704.  Time with Roberta walking and talking

2705.  Ability to purchase needed medications

2707.  Plan for CR

2708.  Getting an update from Holly – being included

2709.  Stumbling on a good preacher on the internet

2710.  An agreed upon plan to deal with J’s disrespectful tone.

2711.  Return of an item went smoothly

2712.  Feeling “heard” when expressing myself to Andy about a concern

2713.  Articles/information to help make a plan for dealing with a bully situation.

2714.  All photos recovered from blown hard drive – like 30,000 of them!

2715.  Walking and talking with Denise

2716.  Bully not allowed on class trip – easier for all the students

2717.  sharing Peach Raspberry Cobbler with Andy

2718.  Safe travels for a lot of driving

2719.  Sense of humor over poor food and poor service when eating out on weekend trip – all the meals!

2720.  Shooting photos at Ironglass Lighting

2721.  A morning with Hannah and Camille and a camera

2722.  heat source installed by Andy just before a big freeze hit

2723.  Seeing beautiful black and white photography in Lewistown Art Center

2724.  Wolf feeding on a dead elk 200 yards from our home.

2725.   Forgiveness for all the times I forget to be thankful

2726.  Watching J process his own photos – learning and excelling at lightroom

2727.  J’s photos from Expedition Yellowstone

2728.  Expedition Yellowstone was a good experience for J.

2729.  J saying thank you to his teachers without being prompted to

2730.  Friendly call from Denise asking how our trip was

2731.  A fast walk by myself


Categories: Barns, Daily life, dog, Faith, gratitude, Outdoors, Photography, Rust, Tank, Thankful to God, the house, Winter | 2 Comments


IMG_1648smIt has been too cold to really get out and take photos. 

Let’s face it, it has been too cold to do much of anything.  Just the daily activities of surviving are exhausting.  I don’t normally get impacted by the cold like this, but the past 7 days of extreme cold have kicked my tail.  The hardest part is that our home heating is not functioning at optimum due to one of our stoves being out of commission – so it is always chilly in the living area of the house and we wear lots of layers.  But that is countered by the fact that both our vehicles, which we park out doors, have started up problem free every time.  We even had to loan our 16-year-old truck to a friend whose fancy-shmancy by comparison and much newer truck wouldn’t start and their business required some hauling.  Of course we were glad to help and I note that they have helped us with the loan of a car when we’ve had one in the shop before.  Like I said above, getting through this cold has really become about survival.

TRIAL UPDATE:  The trial is going on despite the cold.  Andy is working hard.  Attorneys who are there with him tell me the jury is responding very well to him, leaning in to listen to what he has to say.  But a couple of jurors are sleeping during the time that the prosecution is presenting.  That doesn’t mean anything regarding the outcome of the case, but it sure does speak well for Andy’s general skills.IMG_7550sm

LEO UPDATE:  Leo is not doing particularly well and we are preparing ourselves for a fast approaching sad day.  He can’t get comfortable at night and is up 9 – 10 times and he has been avoiding eating for the last couple of days.  It breaks all our hearts and the tears will flow, but right now we are seeing if something will change.  But we are thankful for the 10 years we’ve had with him.


Categories: Andy, Daily life, Leo, Outdoors, Photography, the house, Winter | Leave a comment


IMG_2972_4852smAll of my sunflowers this year are volunteers from last year’s planting.  And I am pleased!

IMG_2713_5088smThey sit right outside my living room window and we can see them from the kitchen too.  They add such a happy flare to the house.

IMG_2962_4842smOf course, to photograph them I have to go outside and stand on a chair – my windows are much to dirty and smudged to take photos through them – plus the seal is wrecked on one of them, so it steams up and gets water marks when it dries.  Darned double paned windows do that when they get old.

Categories: Daily life, flowers, Outdoors, Photography, Summer, sunflowers, the house | 2 Comments



Spring is making an appearance on our property these days.  Thought I’d share a few photos that highlight some of the signs.


As you can see, no leaves yet, but the trees are getting nice fat buds that will begin to be leaves in the next couple of weeks (or maybe less).


Still a lot of brown, but you can see some green tinges getting stronger and stronger!


Still have snow on the mountains, and probably will have more on the fields before it is all over.


The clouds were dropping down yesterday evening, suggesting it was probably raining in the atmosphere, but dry by the time you got to the ground.  So neat how God has created the world to have such interesting events like that.


And this is our house, which actually has a semi-green lawn at this time.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, Outdoors, Photography, Spring, the house | 6 Comments


Early morning last week.  Well, not too early because the sun doesn’t even come up until almost 8 a.m., but early in the sun process. 

I love our barn, even though it lists to one side, needs a new roof, doesn’t have any animals in it (except the birds and mice that make their home their without permission), and will probably fall down in a decade or so if we don’t address its maintenance. 

Still, I love it.

Categories: Barns, Daily life, Outdoors, Photography, the house | 6 Comments



– one –

All photos in today’s post were taken yesterday afternoon as I drove out to J’s school to pick him up from an after school activity – about 4:30 p.m.  The river is the Gallatin River as it flows northwest towards the headwaters of the Missouri River. 

I will return to Yellowstone photos on Monday, I promise!  Maybe sooner if I get a post done over the weekend.


– two –

This is the weekend to get baked goods made, packing done, because on Monday I will be mailing to those who didn’t get their packages already.  But to start it off, we’re having company tonight – a family of 7.  I’ll be leaving the office early to clean house and get the dinner started.  Rare for me to leave town early these days, so I’m kind of excited about this – silly, I know, but sometimes I miss more hours at home doing homey type things like cooking and cleaning.  Besides, if I get the house all clean today, I’ll have a much more free weekend for the fun baking and crafting that I want to do.


– three –

I’m having success with my body bugg – have I mentioned that before?  Must be because it is so exciting to me.  I’ve lost just about 5.5 pounds in 2 weeks.  For me, that is so amazing!  I’m excited to keep going and keep moving.  I’ve got to improve a bit with my food tracking because sometimes I don’t get it quite right.  Part of that is I’m pretty erratic about my meals – I don’t plan ahead enough, that’s for sure.  Time to get back on the menu planning band wagon!


– four –

If I can get my baking and mailing done this weekend I’m ready to really focus on bringing a Christmas spirit into our home.  It’s decorated at this point, but I want to help us focus our hearts and minds on Jesus and what it was for Him to leave heaven and His perfect existence to come to earth and deal with sin, poverty, illness and politics.  Can you imagine?  Obviously the sacrifice of the cross hits us all, but really, his sacrifice started long before that when he stepped down from heaven.  It is hard for me to find the right words to express this, so I want to focus on this a bit more and get a better grasp on what it all means.


– five –

One little word for 2013 is starting to be on my radar screen.  I had a word last weekend that I was so excited about, but now I can’t remember what it was.  Ugh! 

But I need to follow-up a bit with 2012’s word – Progress.  We’ve made some progress on things this year – finances, recently my weight loss, parenting issues, academic issues, office issues.  Nothing is finished and we certainly haven’t arrived in general, but progress is being made.  I like that!

Categories: Daily life, Faith, Family Fun, Five on Fridays, One Little Word, Outdoors, Photography, Progress, the house | 3 Comments


Several folks mentioned that all the snow in my photos lately help set the mood for holidays, so here is another one – help get us all in the frame of mind and feelings best for Thanksgiving.

The truth is the snow is almost gone and the warm winds are blowing in another storm – but not likely to dump much snow on us as it will hit hardest North and East of us.

Although I shopped on Saturday – got that turkey in the fridge – I’ve got to get out there again today to get the fresh veggies and a few things I forgot.  Tonight I’ll be baking two pies for a friend, getting the turkey into the brine, and cleaning house.

Tomorrow is more complicated – early release for J, truck to the shop, banking errands, probably more cleaning around the house, and more cooking – pies for us, prep the green beans, all that kind of stuff.

Fortunately I love doing all the holiday prep, and I love hosting!  So it is going to be a fun couple of days for me.  Well, except for all the house cleaning!

Categories: Daily life, Family Fun, Photography, the house | 3 Comments


– one –

I know for many folks in different areas of the country summer is going strong.  Hot, humid, really no sign of fall except the marketing materials that are out for Halloween and back to school.  But here, fall really does start on the First of September – even the weather man on the local news was saying so, but he calls it the “meterlogical start of fall.”  Whatever you call it, the temps went from high 90’s the last week of August to high 90’s starting last Saturday (the first of September).  I like that!

– two –

Tank and J think that Tank should switch from his kennel to J’s bed for sleeping at night, but we mean old parents (more this mean old mom) say “NO!”  He needs to be in his kennel, isn’t that right Aunt Stacy and Uncle Daniel?

– three –

This photo is from Saturday morning, after we got that rain.  But we’ve had some frosts this week – told you it is getting cooler here – so the apples are just about ready for picking.  We’ve got a couple of friends to share them with because there are more than I can use in a timely fashion.  Mostly I’ll be making applesauce.


– four –

With those frosts, I’m having to cover up the basil and carrots each night.  This is something I usually fail at – forget one night and lose all the plants quickly.  I’m thinking another week or so and I’ll pull all the basil and freeze some pesto.  It wasn’t a bumper crop year for basil, but we did okay.  I’d like to have more next year so I can freeze a lot of pesto.

– five –

Theoretically we are getting some improvements to our house (new flooring and some new wall treatments) starting this weekend, but the guy who is doing it has flaked before, so I’m not holding my breath.  But I do  hope it happens because what is coming is going to be good.
Categories: Daily life, Five on Fridays, Outdoors, Photography, Tank, the house | 3 Comments

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