Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, September 24, 2010

How they treat a hen in Big Sky country

This is Henny.... She is a "house" hen. She doesn't sleep in the house, mind you, she just comes in for food. In the morning my friend "D" goes out and let Henny and Dwane (the rooster) out of the chicken house. Henny charges out of her beautiful little abode and immediately comes toward the big house. Up the steps she goes and if the door is not open she paces back and forth until "D" opens the door and then ....."here she comes just a walkin' down the street" or what I mean is.... across the floor. She is a chicken on a mission, a hen with purpose.

Henny is an Orpington breed (I think.) with a beautiful Wheaten coat and smarter than the average chicken. She struts into the kitchen and waits while "D" fixes her breakfast. Then with all the elegance a chicken can muster, she eats her special gourmet meal. This morning it was hard boiled egg (probably her own....the ultimate recycle) and some broken pecans, much more to her liking than the egg.

When she had her fill she started for the door. "D" called her and gave her one last, special, hand delivered goodie.... and then....out she went to forage on her own. With a flip of her tale feathers and a few clucks (...could have been "thank you", it's hard to know.) she walked out the front door and into the garden.
It is definitely a hen's life around here.
I, on the other hand, had to get my own breakfast. Hummph! OK, I know. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Sometimes you just have to do a little chicken dance and grab the camera instead.
I just hope Henny knows how good she has it. I think she does....

P.S. Please don't tell my hens about this.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

First two days in the Flathead

I have decided that flying can be FUN. There, I said it.... That wasn't hard. It almost convinces me that it really is fun and that, somehow, makes it easier. Mostly, it's getting my mind into a different place where I can find interest in something besides how high I'm am. At the same time, looking down at the landscape below is so interesting that I find myself forgetting where I am and focusing on seeing the country in a different way....
Of course I checked the wing to be sure that it didn't have a crack in it or gasoline leaking out. Everything was fine. Then I looked down at the landscape of Nevada...
I would imagine that when the pioneers came across this land, from the great Salt Lake in Utah, to the deserts and plains of Nevada and then came up against the Sierra Nevada Mountains that they probably figured they were pretty much going in the wrong direction. This is desolate territory. It must have been slow and miserable in a wagon train. It made my hour and a half airplane ride even more appealing.
Nevada is beautiful in it's own way. It's starkness has a beauty that is so different than California. Once you leave the farms that make colorful patchwork quilts of the great central valley, the mountains with their many shades of greens and the blue water of Lake Tahoe and fly east, the landscape becomes a flat terrain of simple contrast... light and dark, that is only broken by clouds darkening the already binary terrain. The contrast of light flat ravines and dark spare mountains is startling.
As we came into Salt Lake City we experienced a small amount of turbulence. I heard a child a few seats in front of me say, " Oh daddy, this is just like a roller coaster." This gave me pause for thought. I've never been on a roller coaster, never will, but it did make me feel better that we landed safely and that a little girl thought it was fun.
We changed planes and were off for Kalispell.
And within an hour and a half we flew into the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana. This was what I had been waiting for....
My friend, "D", was waiting with a big smile and a hug. No stiff drink, but that's OK because I was so glad to be there and have my feet on the ground, that I didn't even need to alter my state of mind. Montana IS a state of mind all by itself. We retrieved my bags and left the airport.
"D" is working in Kalispell but lives about 70 miles north so during the week she rents an apartment in Big Fork and then heads home for the weekends. When we pulled up to this huge utility building I was beginning to wonder what kind of accommodations I was going to sleep in that night. I wondered what was inside this big, huge building and was I going to find some clean hay in a corner with a horse for warmth.
Not to worry. This was a wonderful "apartment" with a big living area, a bathroom and a bedroom. Once inside we had all the conveniences of home....AND a king size bed. "D" said she would be sleeping in the trailer so I got the whole bed to myself. It was a luxury I didn't expect. No amount of arguing about it did any good. "D" wanted to sleep in the trailer which she is very use to because she and he husband live in it sometimes up to 4 or 5 months out of the year. So Farmlady got the royal treatment on her first night in Montana. She slept like a dead person.
The next morning I woke up at 5:30, raring to go. Must have been the one hour time difference. When "D" came in we fixed some coffee and breakfast, talked about what we were going to do all week and the fact that we were finally together again.
Later in the morning we drove into Kalispell. We went to a coffee shop on Main Street. Will you look at that beautiful foam leaf on top of my latte? This place is awesome....
Looked up places we wanted to go on the Internet....
And made plans for the remainder of the day, enjoying our coffee with the foam leaf on top and watching all the people come and go...
It was so relaxing....
right down to the last foamy leaf in the cup. I wrote down all the places we were going to consider staying overnight in after we drove over the "Going to the Sun" road in Glacier National Park and phone numbers for reservations.
Then, we decided not to make reservations because the rush of tourists were gone....families would not be vacationing because most children were back in school ....and it was September....and we just didn't think we needed to call ahead. BIG MISTAKE!!!
We took a walk down to a yarn store called Camas Creek Yarn.
Yes,, that sign has been completely covered with knitted yarn and the bee must have been confused about what this pole was. He was looking for pollen on a blue flower that was never going to satisfy him. Poor little guy.
This store was amazing. There was so much yarn and every conceivable item that you would need for any project that you might want to take on. Lots of beautiful hand spun yarn that was hand dyed, lots of classes to take and very knowledgeable women working in the shop. Plus, look at the store, it's just charming.
We went to the Hockaday Museum and looked at some beautiful paintings of the wild animals and countryside done by famous painters including Charles Russell.

We drove back to Big Fork and collapsed. This was just the beginning....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday "D". I'm home and all is well.

I have returned from my amazing trip to Montana. I need some time to assimilate the journey, the  perspective  and the depth of emotion that has become a part of me.
First of all I want to wish my friend "D" a very happy birthday. I wish I  had made my reservations to extend a few more days so we could have celebrated this day together but I think that we did CELEBRATE for 12 wonderful days and, after all, we did have to get back to our lives at some point so I guess Monday was as good as any day to return. My mind and heart are still in the Montana mountains and I can feel the magic of that beautiful country lingering all around me....and the dear friend that I didn't want to leave.
We have known each other for so long.....
 "D" gave me this photo when we spent some time looking through an album of pictures that dated back to our high school days. This one was taken about 1959 at an airport that we both worked at in Concord, CA. We are so young, about 15 maybe. "D" was home for the summer. She stayed for a year of high school and then she was off again to another foreign country until she came back to go to college. We were so young and filled with possibilities.
Now, we have shed the skin of youth...
and grown older....
We are fifty years from that charming, unbaked youth. We are in our "golden" years. Well "cooked", grayed and wrinkled, but more relaxed in our being....more warmth than blazing fire. This is a friendship of time and enduring comradeship, and now, new memories.
I have so much to tell....
This is Henny.... resident hen at "D"s home. She welcomed me the first morning as we sat on the edge of the porch and discussed life in this high Montana valley. She is a very educated chicken in the ways of country life and caretaker to an old rooster that shares her life.. here. She loves to sit on "D"s lap and so it began.... sitting in the sun, talking about our lives, enjoying the view. It was a "chicken in your lap" kind of vacation with spurts of amazing activity. Over the next week I will have stories to tell and pictures to post.
This is where the story radiates from....a hand built home in the northwest corner of Montana.
This is the pilgrimage I took. This is my dear friend's life and I'm so glad that we have made the effort to maintain this sisterhood of years.
Happy Birthday "D". I miss you... but I will come back soon... with the Prospector... and some Ben and Jerry's ice cream..... and we'll all go fishin'.