Thursday, April 29, 2010

No Way, Jose!

I can't do it. No way, no how. Not happening. Nope. Uh uh, no, no, no. You can't make me....go inside. I just can't bring myself to stay inside when there is so much going on outside. Not to mention the scenery is drop dead gorgeous. So my laundry is piling up, my email is overflowing, my articles need to be written and the bookkeeping? Forget it!

Ah, springtime! The sun is shining, the birds are out in force and the wildflowers are blooming. I would be crazy to miss a SECOND of it. And my canine partners in crime feel no guilt in luring me outside to play, swim and explore. Not that I resist much...if at all. C'mon, can you blame me?

So, every morning I wake up and run through the list of all the things that must be accomplished that day. I have steely resolve as I leash up the troops to take our morning walk, telling myself that we won't dilly dally, that we'll go out, they'll do their business and we will come right back in and I'll get straight to work. Everything is going fine until that first soft, fragrant spring breeze swirls around me, tempting me to do a little happy dance. Then the contingent of robins start in with their "Good morning!" trills. The sun is just rising and casts a golden rosy glow on the landscape around me. Ahhh, heaven!

We make it through the field of newly blossoming wildflowers and step into the woods, heading for the river. The dogs are darting and sniffing and frolicking and I happily trail along behind them noticing which trees are starting to leaf out, watching the red fox dart across the wash, and listening to the local woodpecker tap, tap, tapping on the snag above me. There is a little herd of deer that we run into every day that stare cautiously back at us as we meander along. And once we hit the river, oh glory! The breeze brings fresh, new scents, the sun warms my face and the Canadian geese fly over honking encouragingly at each other.

If we're lucky, the beaver and his little beaver family are swimming nearby. He never fails to startle the crap out of me by slapping the water as loudly as he can with that monstrous tail of his (I think he gets some sort of sick amusement out of watching me jump and contort all Kramer-like). It's such a shock in the quiet stillness of the dewy morning but once he does it and gets his cheap laugh, he goes about his beaver morning and leaves us to enjoy our solitude.

At this point I realize my resolve is slipping and I round up the troops and we start making our way back home. I do usually get us back to get the breakfast served and the coffee brewed, to kiss the hubby as he heads off on his bike to work and sometimes I even get myself to sit down in front of the computer. I'm set, I'm ready, I have my list of all the things I need to get done right in front of me....and then I look up and get an unobstructed view of all the action taking place just beyond the glass. No! Focus! Must....get....through....list....

And that's when I feel a little nudge and I look down to see big, brown eyes looking hopefully up at me. Just one quick run, they seem to say. Just a quick sniff, a turn around the campground to see what's new. And I know I should resist. I KNOW I have a ton to get done...but.....I find myself lying on a patch of grass, with the sun sprinkling down on me through the new leaves that have just sprung and a dog, or two, or three rolling happily on their backs beside me, loving life, loving where this adventure has taken us and I just close my eyes and breathe it all in.

I can start on my list tomorrow......

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cast Iron and Cornbread

As I wander about exploring this new area we've landed in, I just can't resist diving into the local antique and junk stores. I've been on a quest for a long time now to find old cast iron pans since, as I've bemoaned previously, none were passed on through my family. I've hit stores from California to Alaska and back and, sure, I've run across them here and there but most dealers understand the treasure that they're selling and want to catch a sap like me who will be willing to slap down sixty bucks for a dutch oven...missing its cover, no less! Outrageous, I say, so I move on and the treasure hunt continues.

Well, let me tell you that I recently hit the motherlode! I guess it stands to reason that in this area of homesteaders and ranchers, cast iron is as ubiquitous as cowboy boots and bison. To me, though, it was as if I was a miner and I had just hit a huge vein of gold. When, in poking around one of the local stores, my good sport of a husband casually strolled over to me with a corn cob cast iron pan in his hand and asked, "Isn't this what you've been looking for?", I swear I almost fainted. And when I took a look at the price tag and it was less than ten bucks, I let out a whoop that shook the rafters.

I pranced around that shop with that pan clutched tightly in my hands and couldn't believe my luck as we uncovered more and more cast iron jewels just begging to be taken home, cleaned up and put back in service. Ok, sure, we live in a motorhome with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp but, c'mon, who am I to say no to a hardworkin' piece of historic cookware that just wants to get back in the game?

So, I packed those suckers up, got a good arm workout to boot, and headed home to try them out. Umm, let me just say, it was everything I've ever dreamed it to be. I made cornbread in the corn cob pans and paired it with a hearty bean stew and Erik and I gobbled it up, licked our fingers.... and dove in for more. Oh, man, is there anything better than hot-out-of-the-oven, crispy, fluffy and mouthwatering cornbread....drenched in butter? Ok, yea, yea, there goes the diet and I'll have to run from here to Missoula and back to work it off but whateva! It was SO worth it and, hey, let's not forget I burned those calories hauling those babies home.

So, I am FINALLY the proud, new owner of ancient cast iron and couldn't be happier with my new kitchen accoutrement. Don't get me wrong, I'm still on the prowl for my holy grail of cast iron... a small dutch oven WITH a lid that will fit in my motorhome's Easy Bake oven but, for now, I will bask in the glow of knowing that if my life depended on my making skillet biscuits or crispy cornbread, I am SO on it.

Now, on to the next issue...where the heck to store all of them... Hmm, maybe Erik will make some room in his bicycle equipment storage bin. I mean, really, cast iron or a bicycle tube? No contest if you ask me!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Back under the Big Sky

We made it. Back to Big Sky Country and just have to say it's nice to be, well, home. Ok, not in my beloved Missoula and postcard perfect Western Montana but, still, under that glorious big sky and surrounded by those huge rivers, wide open spaces and, oh, those magical, mystical mountains. Friendly people, strong espresso and miles and miles and miles of trails to explore. Absolute heaven.

There is just something about this state that speaks so loudly and clearly to me. As we crossed the state line and Monida Pass in her icy winter finery spread out around us, I took a deep breath and just knew, yes, this is it. So far, in all of our travels nothing has come close to replacing Montana in my heart. Ok, yes, those Southern California beaches hold a special place (especially in the winter when my feet have been numb for MONTHS!) but, when play time is over, it's Montana that I want to come home to.

I can definitely say I'm still moonstruck in Montana......

Our new backyard

Chloe (above) and Riley (below) resting up for the next tracking expedition

On the hunt

Home Sweet Home

Even the plants are happy


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