Into the Calm and the Quiet

I love October; it’s the start of the holiday season for me. Cool days and frozen evenings mean the smell of woodstoves and fireplaces start to fill the air. You’d think after a summer of toxic air quality and wildfires raging through the state, we’d be sick of smoke, but there’s something different and comforting about the smell of a cozy hearth. Trees that can begin the slide toward yellow, orange, and red. Many trees around here are cottonwood, which turn a beautiful gold. Some of the leaves have already started to fall. The first day of autumn brought a light dusting of snow, and more is in the forecast for tonight.

Inevitably, pumpkin spice everything will be arriving if it hasn’t already. I can’t get behind that craze. I love pumpkin pie, but when that flavor is put into another form, I find it slightly disturbing, like if I were to give you a meatloaf lollipop or a chicken noodle soup ice cream. Not long ago we decided to buy a Vitamix, and one of the first smoothies I made was a pumpkin, graham cracker, plus some other things smoothie with pumpkin pie spice. It was…no. But if you like pumpkin spice lattes, smoothies, coffees, or soda, that’s great. (By the way, there is such a thing as pumpkin spice soda as well as butter, chips, gum, and hummus, to name a few others.)

Of course, the best part of October is Halloween. I’ve been counting down the days since May or June. We have our Halloween decorations ready to be put up next weekend. This year we decided to hang a few things outside, but they’re all very light, and we have tremendous winds here, so I hope they don’t fly away. Tommy will be making an appearance this year, after being forgotten in the closet last Halloween. It’ll be interesting to see how Wicket reacts to him; she’s quite a nervous dog.

Now, I’m off to paint my nails in another Halloween theme, tie some flies, and partake in a very non-autumnal 8:30 pm coffee.

Title From:
Come Little Children
Movie: Hocus Pocus

Go and Sing to the Moon

Random picture (Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, Wyoming) to match the complete randomness to follow.

I finally broke down and purchased a fracture boot. I reinjured the stress fractures when I was cleaning the bathroom. FYI, it’s not a terribly bright idea to stand on your tiptoes with cracks in your metatarsals. The boot is cumbersome, but I can walk without canes now, and I’ve been able to start making dinner again, which I’m very excited about. Take-out here is basically burgers or pizza or pizza or pizza. I am not someone who enjoys the same flavors over and over again, and we’ve had to have take-out since I first injured my legs back in March. Now we’re back to dinners of Peruvian shrimp with rice and kale, spelt spaghetti with anchovies and olives, emu stew, pad kee mao, and smoked salmon with rainbow chard.

The ranch behind our home was sold to the man who was using the property for his cattle. Sadly, that means Pickwick has moved away with the previous owner. He was spending most of his time in her home these days anyway, so we rarely saw him. I’ll miss him. I won’t so much miss being bitten. Should that ever change there’s always Muggabee, who still hisses at me, as well as the cat we’ve named Foosball, because he’s “the debbil” and picks on Muggabee.

The new owner has brought chickens. We wanted to turn our shed into a coop two years ago, but we need the storage for the tools we purchased to fix up the shed and make it into a coop. He’s already given us one and a half dozen fresh eggs. They’re a beautiful variety of sizes and colors. I’ll take a picture tomorrow if you remind me to charge my camera battery. Nevermind, we’ve eaten them since I began writing this post almost a week ago. They were delicious, by the way. The chickens have already made their way into our pasture and yard. They’ll be a great help with the earwigs and grasshoppers. The dogs have mostly ignored them, though Wicket did herd them back onto their side of the fence one morning. It was interesting to watch, but I’m not sure the chickens would agree.

Wildfire season has been rough this year. Over one million acres of Montana has burned. Not only are the fires here bringing horrendous amounts of smoke to the entire state, we’re getting smoke from fires farther west as well. It’s been hard breathing recently, though the poor folks deep in the mountains have it far worse, and I can’t complain about a bit of bad air when others have lost much more than the ability to open windows. If I could rain dance right now, I would.

If you’d like to donate to the fire relief, you can check out a couple links below. You can also do some searching of your own, but be wary of anything coming from a suspicious source.

💓 Seeley Lake / Rice Ridge Fire Fund
💓 Lolo Peak Fire Fund
💓 Garfield County Fire Foundation Relief Fund

Title From:
Sing To The Mountain
by Elephant Revival

Why Mess Around with Strife?

Tonight I am in the “office,” and not on the couch, though I should be. Sitting at my desk more frequently has been prolonging the swelling and pain from the micro-fractures in my foot. I’m just so sick of being in the same place. Plus, I’m perpetually checking for earwigs when I sit on the couch now since I’ve found them crawling on me three times this summer, and frankly, three times is four times too many. Creepy little things.

The windows are open. It’s no longer reaching 100°F during the day, and even in the midst of a heat wave, our nights are cool. It dips into the fifties every evening now. The neighboring ranch has brought in two new cows to the paddock next to us, and their mooing is echoing around the valley. It’s incessant and not a little annoying, but it’s a better noise to listen to than those of a city.

Have a listen:


The local school starts again on Thursday, which means fall is coming. I love autumn. I love winter even more. I’m counting down the days to Halloween and bookmarking Christmas presents while I listen to the chirping of crickets, the clicking of bats, ceaseless mooing, and other sounds of summer. Hopefully, I’ll be healed by the holidays. I’d hate to spend them confined to the world’s most uncomfortable sofa.

While stuck on the couch I’ve read a lot of news. However, I think I’ll stop now. I once saw a YouTuber express her desire to avoid the news because she wanted to live happily and without worry. Of course, it being the internet, she was ridiculed for choosing to be “uninformed.” At this point, I have to side with her. I’d rather be uninformed than brought to unhappiness and fear by the reporting of only negativity. The world needs a lot less tunnel-vision laser-focused on being upset. There is peace, there is kindness, and there is beauty. If all that’s looked for is the bad, it’s quite easy to forget to notice the good. I’d rather look for the good and stop allowing others to point out everything awful.

Imagine if a friend were to do that personally, never saying anything positive? I don’t know about you, but that friend wouldn’t be my friend very long.

Title From:
Give Me The Simple Life
by Etta Jones

Down a Dusty Road

A post shared by Rebma Belanger (@suzzerpuss) on

Before we go out, which is not very often these days with all my injuries, I will pee ninety-seven times. At least I’ll try to pee ninety-seven times. I’ll pee like a normal person, wash my hands, and then a niggling thought will enter the back of my mind, “How much pee did I just make while washing my hands? Could I pee again?” The next thing I know I’ve spent fifteen minutes peeing four drops, and Brian is sending me messages from the truck like, “I’m running out of gas waiting for you, what are you doing in there?”

This is probably not normal, but I can’t help it, and I doubt I’ll ever stop doing it. I began this odd habit when we moved to Montana because Montana doesn’t have bathrooms. If you’re on the interstate or a more substantial road, you’ll have rest stops and gas stations available, but if you’re on a back road? You’re peeing on the side of that road.

While it’s true you can go for long periods of time without coming across another vehicle here, it’s inevitable that as soon as you have to pee, someone will either appear behind you or a steady spaced-out stream of trucks, it’s almost always trucks, will start coming from the opposite direction. Also, anywhere east of Bozeman is pretty wide open, there aren’t a lot of trees, so you’d be exposed during your exposure. So, I try to pee ninety-seven times.

It seems my current injury, which has now also led to my foot feeling broken, possibly with microfractures from the stress of not using my thigh for so long, has triggered the same pee habit. Every time I make it all the way to the bathroom, which is honestly at least four miles away from the living room, I spend up to fifteen minutes trying to pee everything I can pee, so I won’t have to make the trek again for a while. Of course, the bathroom in our bedroom is only five steps from the bed, and I do it there as well, so maybe I’m just lazy about getting up to pee, regardless of where I am in the house.

Note: Technically, the picture here is from Wyoming, but I had to include it because of the Dusty Road song!

Title From:
Dusty Road
by Dave Stamey

Though the Ground Might Shake

A couple nights ago, not long past midnight, we were sitting on the couch watching something on the television. My leg has been getting worse, so I’ve removed two of the three back cushions to use for elevating my injured parts, and have taken to hogging the majority of the couch. Brian is relegated to less than one whole cushion. I was cleaning my glasses because my eyelashes are too long and they tend to transfer my moisturizing cream onto the lenses in blurry streaks. I can’t see anything without them, so when the couch started swaying, I thought Brian was adjusting in his tiny cubby of a seat.

As a kid, I used to lay in bed and imagine monsters. I do not know why but imagining monsters all around my home made me feel safe. I guess my weirdness started early. One of the things I would imagine was that my bed was stranded in the middle of the ocean and was floating amongst enormous sharks and other unknown creatures of the deep. The only way I could be safe was to keep on top of the mattress. I would imagine the waves gently rolling the bed, and I would fall asleep to that feeling.

That’s what the sofa felt like. Swaying on the ocean on a magical floating mattress. It was smooth and rhythmic. With my glasses back on I could see that Brian wasn’t dramatically adjusting. So there was only one thing it could have been, and ten minutes later the headline of “Magnitude 5.8 earthquake 48 km from Helena Valley West Central, Montana” popped up. We were feeling the tremors.

It was the first time Brian ever experienced one. I had one previous experience in Pennsylvania. I had been sitting on a tiny recliner in my grandparents’ trailer when suddenly I was vibrating. I turned to my (grandpa) Pappy, who had been talking to his friend Jerry in the kitchen, and asked, “What was that?!” He nonchalantly replied, “Probably a truck going down the road.” Turns out it wasn’t a truck after all. It was a 4.6 earthquake.

Title From:
by Maddie & Tae