Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Montana Huckleberries

It seems everywhere we go someone has Huckleberries for sale in this part of Montana. There's huckleberry pie, jam, syrup, ice cream and just plain Huckleberries for sale everywhere; I even had a Huckleberry Margarita while Martha enjoyed a Bloody Mary on the waterfront of the McDonald Lodge. Wanting to go native, we decided to learn more about this popular indigenous fruit and find our own. After talking with our campground owners we learned that Huckleberries grow on low lying bushes almost anywhere; they command high prices because they are picked just one at a time, unlike similar berries which can be picked in clusters. With this knowledge we went searching for this elusive fruit; and, sure enough they were there for the picking, albeit one at a time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hungry Horse Montana

Well, we finally found the perfect place for the maiden voyage of our inflatable kayak, AKA: The Sea Eagle. With some directions from the owner of our current RV park (see review of Sundance RV park) we drove about 5 miles to Lion Lake, and prepared this craft for its first voyage. The little kayak was easily inflated, while we assembled the paddles, put on our life jackets and headed onto the calm clear water of this lovely lake. It was surrounded by tall pine trees and its clear waters reminded of us of Green Pond in Sherman, CT.

So glad we did not let a few showers discourage us, the sun was soon shining down on our first voyage. It took us a while to get the hang of who should paddle when and zigged and zagged at first. We splashed each other some but not bad for our first venture!

Lion Lake, Hungry Horse, MT; a little pristine lake here in northwestern Montana.

This loon kept us company and entertained us with his expert diving skills, disappearing under the water for long periods of time and then popping up in a totally different spot 100 feet away. He had the last laugh (as the call of the loon sounds like) as he dried his wings and headed off to dive again. We saw a keosk notice about the loon population being threatened, sure hope this guy and his two friends manage to raise some new chicks successfully.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


What a great time of year it is to be here. It's in the 70s during the day and 40s at night; perfect!

Jackson Glacier; one of only approximately 26 left here in the Park. In the 1800s there were 150 glaciers here; by 2020 they expect them all to be gone.

Note the car on the bridge; this is one big waterfall!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good Bye Marlboro Country

Today we welcome new follower, Teri. Thanks for joining our blog and we appreciate your support.

This morning we left our cousins' ranch behind and headed for northern Montana. Already we miss this special part of Montana. We felt comfortable as soon as we drove down the bumpy gravel driveway and saw Tom waving to us! It was a great two-week visit full of sightseeing, morning picnics, family dinners, birthday celebrations, kittens, chickens, E-bay and firearms lessons and most of all renewing our family ties. Thank you all for a very special visit! Why did we leave? 'guess the road just keeps calling to us!!

There are lots of outbuildings and peeling paint on this old ranch.

What a great homemade bench to relax and enjoy the view.

The house is newer than the farm buildings. It has beautiful pastoral and mountain views from east to west.

Tom's Cottonwood Trail, just outside our RV window.

Martha had her very first firearms experience here in Montana. She didn't waste her time with a little popgun .22, choosing to take her first shots with my dad's Colt 38, though cringing a bit in this photo. Later she fired Tom's 9mm auto as well. Firearms out here are as they should be; no big deal. If you're off to the foot hills, you just strap on a side arm for good measure, because you really could come face to face with a bear.

Great views here on the ranch, Montana is after all, big sky country!

We called it home for two weeks.

No family get together is complete without the obligatory family snapshot. Martha and I joined our cousins, Tom and Rhonda, and 3 of their lovely children for this home-on-the-range snapshot.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Installed a paddle Fan

Lately we've been parked off grid much of the time, so we rely on solar power and propane for most of our energy needs. Unless we want to run the generator, which we don't, the air conditioners are not an option when it's hot. For the most part, the humidity here is very low so fans do a good job of keeping us cool, but we didn't have a good low amperage fan for the bedroom. PPL in Texas had this 12 volt, 4 speed paddle fan on sale for $91 plus $7.99 shipping, so we ordered one.

Installing a paddle fan in an RV offers a number of challenges such as cutting a hole without damaging existing wiring, supporting the weight of the fan and running new wires through the ceiling and wall for a new switch.

I've found a small router to be the best tool to safely cut a hole in the ceiling or wall of an RV. With a router you can precisely control the depth of cut so as to avoid hitting a wire or something else just below the wallboard surface. In this case, once I knew there were no wires or structural ribs I continued to cut deeper so I could add a 3/4" plywood mounting plate to carry the weight of the fan (a messy and dusty job for sure!). I also put (2) 5", #10 screws up through the roof so we would never have to worry about the fan falling down on our bed. Once this was done, installing the motor and fan blades was easy. Then, the moment of truth; I added 12 volt power with the help of some alligator clips and flipped the switch. Ah bliss, a beautiful whoosh of clean, dry Montana air, right down on our bed. Tomorrow I'll finish finish installing the wall switch before we head for Glacier National Park.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Belgrade, Montana

I guess we've fallen from the blogosphere lately, but it all started with a computer crash, which is sort of fixed. We've been about a week here with family on their ranch in Belgrade, which has been one of the most peaceful and pleasant places we've ever seen.

From our front window we can see about 60 miles to the west. Actually, there are distant mountains for 360 degrees in all directions.

The grain tower and chicken coop here on the ranch.

A cattle drive we saw not far from here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th!

We thought it would be a good idea to revisit Mount Rushmore for the 4th; and for only $5 we got these cool T shirts. Happy 4th of July everyone!