Silly man

Sometimes, you just have to be silly in order to get through some of the stress of things. My husband excels at this skill, and with all the stuff that has gone right, wrong and everything in between for these last two months, now is a good time to share a little.

The strange noises that have been emanating from the goat stalls downstairs would make any sane person think there was a fight or a “Friday the Thirteenth” style horror scene going on down there. Turns out our billy “Shamus” is the one causing all the ruckus. So, of course, Scott went down to film it (and make fun of him).

Scott says the title of the video is “When she’s just not that into you, man.”

He took the three biggest ones on a nature hike around our property, and downloaded an app called “iNaturalist” to help identify some of the bushes and trees we have. Scott fancies himself much like the Tom Skeritt character from “A River Runs Through It” who goes on walked with his boys in the Montana woods and explains the world to them.

iNaturalist turned out to be pretty user-unfriendly because you have take a million clear, “professional” quality pictures of the specimen in order for it to come back with an idetification. Scott already knows we have Ponderosa, Douglas Fir, Lodgepole, and several species of Junipers here. So after a few minutes of fiddling with the thing, he just explained it to them. All the boys wanted to do was play superheros and save their sister from the bad guys in the woods. In the front of the group is David, with daddy’s hatchet in his right hand, keeping everyone safe.

The baby stayed home with me.

With the tractor still being down, (several hundred dollars of hay sitting in the rain that we can’t move), some strange things going on with our circuit breakers, and a bunch of other stressors, he still finds time to pose for me for in a picture. He says he was going for “grumpy old army veteran who wants to be left alone on his ranch.”

I’d say he nailed it.


Heaven is a place called Helena

We’ve been here for almost two months, and its time to start singing the praises of the local businesses and proprietors that have made our transition, in some cases, possible at all.

Recall, Montana Shed Center and their subcontractor Riverside Cabins built our absolutely beautiful “barndominium.” Every morning I go for my run, and as I crest the hill that my horses graze on, I see the sun coming up over it. I have to pinch myself.

Ljubomir Farms, approximately 6:30 every morning.

I won’t lie and say that there have been zero issues with it, but that is to be expected. A few minor things here and there, and Bill from Riverside had a crew out to address them. They were proud of their work, and you could tell. They even sent a guy out with a drone to take some aerial photos to use in their own promotional stuff.

I bought a vintage tractor, a 1956 Allis-Chalmers WD45  which, to be honest has had some problems from the start. Transmission went out. (Well, actually it was just the linkage). Front tires were cracked pretty bad and I didn’t notice when I bought it. I hauled it to Grizzly Diesel Service and they were a great help. They had never worked on one of these, and were not able to find the parts. So they fabricated them!

From there, the tractor went to MontanaTire Company to replace the cracked tires. And of course, the age of the tractor proved to be an issue again. When the tire came off, all the JB Weld that was holding the rim together over the years disintegrated into crumbling shards of rust. The rim would not hold a tire and tube (yes, it takes tubes). So they turned me on to Helena Farm Supply, in East Helena. They did not have rims for a 70 year old tractor on hand, but they were able to get them in about a week. So the tractor sat at his place all that time, taking up space, waiting for the rims to come in.

Keep in mind, every one of these places “spotted” me the cash in advance. Montana tire ordered the tires for me over the phone–specialty tires that no one would ever likely need–no credit card, just my name and a promise I would come in to pay for them later.

Helena Farm supply actually FORGOT to bill my card for a couple of days after I picked up the rims.

Mark Heimann is a local farmer/rancher who I started buying hay from. Once I got to know him, I just stop by his place, grab the hay I need and either leave the cash there or settle up later.

Picking up hay at Marks place.

We took the kids to get pumpkins at Johnson’s Nursery where they had a blast. It is small and they gave us some pretty cool jelly jarring techniques for next year when we are ready to start that part of business up again.

Murdoch’s is a chain, and I don’t usually mention stuff like that. However, the one here is outstanding. I’ve been in there 50 times already, and I could tell a story about the helpful and friendly folks there each time. The best was the day I went in and had the baby in my arms. I needed to get about a dozen 50lb bags of horse grain onto carts and pushed out to the truck. The lady that found me in the isle was not big enough to help load, but she carried Kathryn for me the entire time, all the way to the check out stand and out the door.

Some other honorable mentions:

Steve’s Cafe.  Two locations, great food.

Parrot Confectionery. No better candy in town.

Bert and Ernies. Great comfort food, accommodating to people with little kids.

The staff at the tag office for getting plates? Totally normal and nice. The guy who helped me change my drivers license to Montana? Friendly, polite, helpful.

Two months in, and the honeymoon is still on. We love it here.