Sunday, December 30, 2012

There and Back Again

Somewhere in Montana on Interstate 90: no lawn visible = pets anywhere their leashes allow.

We had a WONDERFUL trip to Portland for the Christmas holiday!  And it is WONDERFUL to be back at home in our winter wonderland.  The Beastie Grrlz did really well with the long car trips, staying at Grandma Pat's, leashed outings and driving around town and being left in car.  We did really well seeing so many friends and family in just 6 nights and 5 days.

Please wait under the moose forequarters for boarding information.

We rented a red Dodge Grand Caravan from Enterprise to get most of the rest of our crap stuff home to Montana.  It worked like a charm, did well on the drive, had all the features you'd want for a road trip.  Let me tell you, though, the one-way rental charge is a bit of a killer; we probably made up for the difference between it and the smallest U-haul available for one-way with the gas mileage, though.  The only place to return it was MSO (Missoula International Airport).  It looked like a nice little airport and did not disappoint on the taxidermy front.

This is what happens to passengers who don't collect their luggage quickly, quietly and politely.

What I am really hoping to see in person is some weird, fantastical taxidermy like this (from the website on the "watermark").

Who knew that taxidermy fell into both Classy and Tacky categories?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wildlife Watch !V

Be verwy, verwy quiet...

...I think we have a wabbit!

I spotted these tracks coming out from the ATVport (like a carport for the ATV) and making a trail along the front of the shop.  The ATVport's floor is dirt and I saw what looked like hole under a pallet stacked in there!  Perhaps this is why the Beastie Grrrlz will sometimes demand to go out, then race over the the shop and sniff all around the edges of it in a frenzy.

We also spotted this beauty at a bar/distillery in Missoula where we may have done some Christmas shopping and I may have made a certain non-fan of PDA kiss me under the mistletoe over the bar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snowing Sideways

 Neither my camera nor my phone could really capture the snow whipping around, at least not through the windows and I was staying inside, thank you very much.

Yesterday as quite stormy and from the 90 seconds I spent looking at com it seems it may have been part of the same system causing the Oregon Cascades to be forecast-ed for a foot or two of the white stuff.  We didn't get a lot more snow, but it did come down sideways and in swirly funnels.  It also made the road a mess.

We were assured by our Les Schwab associate that the chains for Bert would not require laying on the ground which is good, because I don't have any Carhartt overalls.

Bert (my trusty truck) couldn't quite make it all the way up to the house without chains even in 4 low.  We left her on the side of the road over night and went down with the ATV this morning to check it out.  No troubles.  So we chained up the E's unnamed, non-gendered Honda to deliver to a parking lot in town so we can have her available for our trip to Portland later this week.  The drag is that once you get down the road, it's time to take the chains off again.

It's been awhile since I've been into a Les Schwab now they have free wi-fi!

All that said, we couldn't think of a better time to head down the highway to the closest Les Schwab to get chains for Bert... except yesterday morning.  Yesterday morning would have been a better time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wheeeeeee! bark bark bark Wheeeeeee!

Last week, we picked up a couple of your basic plastic saucers for sledding down our hill at our local Ace.  Then we waited for our colds to get better.  Yesterday we went on a test run.  Eric went first on the driveway.

The Beastie Grrrlz seem to think that the discs are silent relatives of the vacuum cleaner.  They don't trust 'em, but they want to make sure we are safe so they stay close.  Good girls.  I went next, but on the "yard."  It was so slow that when I turned to look at the dogs I could see them awkwardly trying to both run and stay behind me which is one of the cardinal rules of chasing.

We both gave it another go on the driveway and believe that as the season and snowing continues, we'll have some pretty good sledding conditions right out the front door.  It reminds me of growing up on "the hill" on Camwal Drive minus the ditches on either side.

Today we decided to take advantage of the nice, sunny day to hike a little further out into the woods than we usually do and further than I had to date.  We went high enough that we could see not only the other side of the valley, but the Bitterroot River at its bottom.

A pretty all right view.

We hope the sky stays clear tonight so we may view the Geminid Meteor Shower!  From the hot tub!  With spiked homemade hot chocolate!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bad News From "Home"

A really tragic thing happened not too far from my recently-left home in Portland today.  I still stream Oregon Public Broadcasting on my internet radio, because I just don't like the lineup on Montana Public Radio and so I heard the news unfold, even on the national news, as I was wrapping Christmas presents.

I have said via Facebook and to some people that I am feeling two, opposite things: the desire to be back among so many of my loved ones so I can count them and hug them and talk through all this with them while at the same time I am glad I am "so far" away.  I know senseless violence can happen anywhere, but today it didn't happen here.

There are so many little bits and odd ends in my head.  We hear gun shots daily here; we live right on the National Forest, it's a few dozen yards from our door at most, and it's hunting season.  We walked just a short way into the forest a few days ago and ran into our next door neighbors out hunting after work/school and before dinner.  The dogs wear blaze orange things on their collars every day so they aren't mistaken for shoot-able animals.  I'm this same woman, in this new context and today my old context is fighting with my new one a little bit and giving me more things to think about than I'd rather.

It's times like this that we are reminded about that balance between paying attention to Life-with-a-capital-L and paying attention "my life."  I'm going to focus more on the latter tonight, this photo is going to help me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wildlife Watch!!!

Ok, it's just more deer, but so charming and peaceful in the blue glow of the twilight on the snow.

The trick is getting a good look without the Beastie Grrrlz realizing what we're on about.

The Real Deal

Our first Real Snow* in Montana!  And the first time that the road was plowed by the neighbor the road committee hires to do such.

A couple of inches fell on Thursday and a few more on Friday giving us about 6 inches total. 

We have 2 birdbaths; the other is heated to 40 or so degrees with a special device on a loooooong extension cord left for us by the former owners.

A rare still moment for the dogs who respond to snow like it is dognip.

So much for my fancy new Montana license plats.

One of the small trees near the driveway.

These are WAY better than icicle lights.  Not sure what, if anything, we're supposed to do about icicles on the eaves.  There are no gutters for them to tear off, so...

Eric's first plowing of the driveway was a success!  There's a learning curve, but he's starting strong.

This is how the Beastie Grrrlz usually look in the snow.

There was no snowfall again until Sunday night and it didn't melt off or ice over like it probably would in Portland.  We woke up Monday to another inch or so and the forecast is for more this week.  I think that there is less build-up on the valley floor and in Missoula, but we'll see when we go out for some holiday errands either today or tomorrow.

*This was verified when we ran into our neighbor yesterday afternoon/evening while walking in the woods and he referred to this as "real snow."

Friday, December 7, 2012

License (Plate) and Registration, Please

We drove down to Hamilton, the Ravalli County seat, on Tuesday to register our vehicles.  Get this: it was kind of fun.  For reals.  What is essentially a trip to the DMV (although it's actually part of the DoJ here or something) was a pretty good time as bureaucratic endeavors go.

There are currently about 130 different license plates to choose from in Montana.  There are supposed to be about a dozen more coming out before the end of the year.  Really.

Now, this is not for drivers licenses, just vehicle registration, but get this: there's no take-a-number machine.  You just wait on a bench until they call next.  There were about 3 people ahead of us and we waited about 5 minutes.  I barely had time to take a photo of that poster before we were called in!  Also there in the line was a TV set up on one of those tall rolling carts like they had in schools (maybe they still do) running a loop of a bunch of animals that are available for adoption from the county Humane Society.  It's like they knew we were coming.

A fond farewell to our Oregon plates.  Someday, we'll hang them in the garage.
Seems like people always blur out license plates in photos, so I decided to do it.  Just in case.

Then when we approached the window the lady working there was friendly, helpful, funny, engaging and patient.  I was able to register Bert "permanently" because she's a senior citizen, but that also means that I didn't get to have a plate that supports a cause or team* that I like.

Eric went as basic as possible while waiting for the Bitter Root Humane Association plate to be issued.
I liked the bison skull on this version of the standard plate.

Eric's car is an unnamed young adult of undetermined gender, so he was trying to decide which of the pet welfare type organizations he wanted to support so asked her where Gallatin and some other place is.  She figured out what he was going for and told us that our local Humane Society was coming out with a plate soon and if he wanted he could get regular plate and then when the new ones come out, just pay the difference for those.

The plate E will get eventually.  Not the best looking, but better than a few of the pet groups and you can tell what it's about.

We learned that it costs the organizations $4000 to get a plate, so they must pay off even though there are SOOOO many to choose from.  One thing that must help is that vehicle registration is annual and every time your renew you pay a donation to the organization (of which gets 100%).  The donation is usually between $10 & $25.  There is a bi-annual registration, but I don't think that effects the donation or maybe you can only do biannual with basic plates.

*That's a joke, there.  I don't like any of your "teams" or your "sports"!  Bahahahahahaaaaaa!