Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mosaic Monday #41: Blessed










lessed.  I am a blessed woman.   My health.  Good friends.  Loving children.  A darling spouse.  To live in the spectacular state of Montana. A positive outlook.

Not a new revelation, but one that struck me again as I prepared this post.

I sat down to do some drawing this week, and I looked to my planner pages for inspiration.  (I did this once before - see my May 12 post.)  I don't often need a pep talk, but everyone has a down day now and again.  If nothing else, these catch-phrases are well-suited to lettering practice!

As the weekend approached, I decided to structure this post using the phrases from May, June, July and August.  

Pinterest provides a wealth of fonts and tutorials on hand-lettering and drawing.  I enjoy looking at the options and choosing styles that fit the phrase.  As I created "Embrace Beauty", I thought to myself "That's a no-brainer."  I am surrounded by God's beauty each and every day.  

One of my favorite pictures from July illustrates this better than any art I could create.  Here I am standing in the hay field on the farm of my Dear Neighbor Friend.  It's so tall you almost can't see me!
"Nurture" means to "care for and encourage the growth of someone or something".  What is the state of your relationships?

As I mentioned in my August 1 post, #1 Son has been in the UK visiting his paternal grandparents, and he continued to send us photos from his trip.  On the day he returned, he scheduled a Skype call with us to tell us how much he has missed us.  Awww.  Here are just a few of his photos.

On Thursday, I was thrilled to be sitting in the bleachers at the Fair with my Dear Neighbor Friend when her granddaughters won several events with their goats, including novice showmanship and the best goat at the Fair.  If it weren't for our friendship, I would never have had this fascinating, first-hand experience of 4-H kids competing at the Fair.

On Friday, my Dear Neighbor Friend came by to deliver fresh, warm cinnamon rolls.  We had a lovely chat on our front porch while a soft rain fell.  What could be more heart-warming than that?  


The August phrase is "Practice Wellness."  (And how ironic, given that those cinnamon rolls have disappeared in a couple of days.)  I thought it was interesting that the designer chose the word "practice" to pair with "wellness".  It is a word full of action, execution, implementation.  Even if you are in a state of good health (wellness), it implies putting that good health in motion.  It signifies routines, habits, customs - are your habits healthy and are healthy practices also your custom?

I think I can check the box on this one as well.   Healthy foods, regular exercise.  I keep an eye on my mental health, too.  What am I reading?  What music is playing?  Daily prayer is essential for me.  Heck, drawing, as well as writing this blog, are forms of practicing wellness, even if I am mildly stressed at times about what to write.  

As I looked back over my artwork, it occurred to me that I could rate myself an "A" or "B" on all of these admonitions.  On top of that, I function pretty effectively without the reminders.  Yes, I am a blessed woman.  A blessed woman with some new art.




Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Mosaic Monday #40: A Parade and a Potato

Dear reader, over several posts (May 26, June 16 and July 14), I have been stringing you along, sharing tales of our visit to Spokane.  Finally, we have arrived at the pinnacle - the Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade.  And what a spectacle it is.  The festivities begin early in the day, when the floats are parked under a highway underpass near downtown.  I was delighted to learn that the public can view them.


Float for Lilac Festival Princesses
As we walked among them, it became apparent that most of the floats represented communities that have festivals of their own, such as the Apple Blossom Festival.  We marveled at the creativity and workmanship.  At one float, a couple of gentlemen hovered, and I took the opportunity to ask a few questions.

Do these communities use the same float every year?  Most make a new float every year, reflecting a theme that the community selects.
Float for Apple Blossom Festival Princesses (100th year of that Festival)

Isn't that a massive effort for one parade?  It isn't just one parade - most of these communities have parades for their own festivals, and everyone participates.  A float may appear in as many as 13 or 14 parades over the spring/summer.

Do all the floats carry princesses?  Most feature princesses but some transport other royalty or other community groups.  The selection of the princesses is a significant event in these communities.  (And, as we would later observe during the parade, most of the princesses have a prepared dance routine that they perform on the float to the music emanating from it.)  This is a big deal, folks!
I have only shown you a small selection of the floats - some were hard to 
photograph due to how they were parked.  You will just have to go and see
it for yourself!

Unlike most parades, this one takes place at night, hence the name "Torchlight Parade".   I channeled my inner child and inhaled an ice cream while waiting for 7.45 p.m. to arrive.  Spectators thronged the sidewalks, with chairs, blankets and children in tow.  Vendors strolled the cordoned-off streets, hawking cotton candy, balloons and every possible item with lights.  Stationed as we were at the start of the parade route, I can tell you the parade commenced right on time.  The police sirens began to wail and the motorcycle police cavalcade got the party started.

Over the next two and a half hours, we were charmed by countless high school marching bands, military groups, drill teams, equestrian units, antique cars and of course, floats.  The participants are encouraged to use lighting, and it was fascinating to observe the same floats we had seen earlier in the day, now lit in creative ways.

Here is a short video of the Lilac Princesses, who appeared near the beginning of the parade.

I am partial to high school marching bands, since #1 Son was a member of the drum line in high school, and held a leadership position as an upperclassman.  Hence, I captured numerous bands on video, and I down-selected snippets of the best for you.  With hindsight, I wish we had been a little further from the start of the route.  Many of the bands waited to start playing until the next block, and I regretted not hearing them perform.  

Band playing a military march, which seemed very appropriate for a Armed Forces parade.

This band outdid every other band with lights, from their hats to little lights on their shoes.

This band had a GIGANTIC percussion session - oh, how I miss drum line!

OK, not EVERY video was a band - the crowd LOVED the Hot Mamas, and I think this short video tells the story well.

May nights in Spokane can still be chilly, and after a couple of hours I was ready to snatch a blanket from one of the nearby kids.  (Of course, I didn't!)  Also, we had been standing all this time … But we stayed to the end (do not stray from the quest is a family motto), and then made our way to the food truck area to see what might still be open.  A short while later we scarfed piping hot (temperature and taste) Mexican food as we walked back to our hotel.  What a wonderful night!
Moon behind Looff Carousel

The next day, we said farewell to Spokane and cruised toward Idaho.  What do you think of when you consider Idaho?  Well, I think potato.  What could be better than an Idaho potato in Idaho?  Are you tired of me using the word Idaho?

Our tummies were rumbling as we approached the town of Sandpoint, and Yelp surfaced a restaurant I just knew we had to try: Spuds Waterfront Grill.  
From the moment we entered, I knew we had chosen well - we were greeted first by the desserts.
I am highly unlikely to eat an Elvis Cake, but I sure like the chutzpah of a restaurant that would serve one!

It was too windy to sit on the deck overlooking the marina, but we had seats next to the window that were the next best thing.  I was delighted with my meal - yes, a spud.  Mine was the "Drag it Through the Garden" potato, with spinach, broccoli, red cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms and a green onion dill dressing.  I was in heaven.  An Idaho potato in Idaho - my journey was complete.

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Mosaic Monday #39: Summer Days, Drifting Away

Female Nokomis Fritillary butterfly on bee balm in my garden - thanks to
David of Travels with Birds for the identification

"August is like the Sunday of summer."  Unknown.

Well, folks, I don't know about you, but I am not even close to ready for summer to flit on by, so we are going to ignore for the moment that the calendar page has inexorably flipped to August.  Instead, we shall linger in those lazy (well, maybe not so lazy), hazy (well, we actually have crystal blue skies here in Montana) days of July 2019.

Evening light at our lake
How did you spend your July?

It will come as no surprise to you that I treasure the long light of summer.  It enables early mornings on the deck, with coffee of course.  Or twilight walks to the lake at the bottom of our property.  And sunset kayaking with my dear neighbor friend on her lake.  

Early July saw regular rainfall, and I reveled in pulling on my wellies and wandering a sparkling fresh world.
Storm clouds gather on the western horizon

The naturally occurring plants on our property provide unending entertainment and photo opportunities for me.
Left: Showy Death Camas    Upper right: Blue-eyed Grass
Lower right: White Spirea

On one such outing, my little eye spied something white in the dead branches of a lodgepole pine.  Can you see it?  Hmmm .... what could that be?






Upon closer inspection, it was easy to identify a mushroom, impaled on the branch.  Now, how did that GET there?  Why, your local neighborhood squirrel put it there.  


Being off the ground helps the mushrooms dry quickly and become tough and brittle.  These dried mushrooms resist decay and the squirrels stash them away for winter snacks.  For me, this falls in the category of "Now I have seen everything!"

Everyone knows the saying "Make hay while the sun shines," and now Spousal Unit and I have a new appreciation for it.  My dear neighbor friend and her entire family engage deeply in the haying process during the summer.  When conditions are right, it's all hands on deck for this labor-intensive operation.  That's how we found ourselves at the farm, helping where it was needed most.  (Actually, my role was observer and photographer.)  
Mowing.  Mown hay has to dry thoroughly before it can be raked and baled.
Raking - Spousal Unit is driving the red tractor, a 1959 Ford
Workmaster 641 - suffice it to say he was like a kid in a
candy store!
Baling - hubby of my dear neighbor friend drives the
tractor while his grand-daughter drives the baler
under the careful oversight of her dad
Looks simple and organized, but the bales to the left and the mown hay to the right - a gargantuan team effort
Spousal Unit loads bales onto the sled while my dear neighbor friend
drives the tractor


Spousal Unit moves bales from sled to elevator, which takes them to
the hay loft, where dear neighbor friend stacks them

Hay loft.  This hay is kept for the farm to use; the
rest is sold and goes direct from the field to the customer.
Work hard, play hard.  That could be Montana's motto.  So, when my dear neighbor friend needs to relax after all that haying, she kayaks on the lake.  And sometimes I am along for the ride.
We got this close to the loon nest only after concluding that the eggs were unlikely to hatch.  And wrong we were -
2 weeks later the eggs lay broken in the nest and the young ones were bobbing about

Stuffed breakfast biscuits
The family summer vacation is as iconic as motherhood and apple pie, and during July we were glad to welcome friends from Cleveland, along with their twin sons.  In his usual fashion, Head Chef fed them well.

A highlight of the visit was our hike along the Highline in Glacier National Park.  But that's a subject for a future post.  For now, I will tease you with a picture taken by one of our visitors - this year is a bumper crop of beargrass!

Of course, there's nothing like a summer night to light a fire and host neighbors and friends for chit-chat and s'mores.  When the last guest has gone, and the stars are sprinkled on the night sky like so much glittery confetti, we linger by the fire.  And we give thanks. For our dream home.  For excellent health, to enjoy the glorious world on our doorstep.  For good neighbors.  And for long summer days, even as they drift into the past.  

 

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Piece of Cake

Carrot Strawberry Jell-O Cake
I have been looking forward to this post for ages.  Finally, a chance to link up with other memes, and thus give back to those who have faithfully linked to Mosaic Monday.  An opportunity to write a simpler post than I normally do, spotlighting a few recent fun subjects without the need for structure or logical flow.  I know, I am a nut, but for me this is freedom!  Having my cake, and eating it, too!

I made this cake as an experiment since I have learned the hard way that baking at altitude can be unpredictable, even with guidance from "Pie in the Sky - Successful Baking at High Altitudes".  I had it in mind for a future Munch and Make gathering, and I wanted some quality assurance.  The result was a delicious cake that provided many a breakfast pastry for Spousal Unit and me.  On the other hand, it is a long process, and I am not sure I will always have the time for it.  (And I grabbed the wrong Jell-O from the pantry - this should have been a strawberry Jell-O rather than vanilla pudding.  I liked it anyway!)  If you would like to try it, visit Natalia for the recipe.  

On the subject of cakes - Fleur Bakery in Whitefish recently moved into bigger digs on the main street of town.  I love a good coffee/tea shop, so this was good news to me.  The bakery filled a gap left when the Red Caboose closed - the Red Caboose had a cool vibe and comfy seating, and I was sad to see it go.  So I had to check it out.  I've been in twice and so far I will give it a B.  Robust coffee but I have to ask for sugar.  Seating is a little formal - I would like a few oversized chairs or couches.  Macaron was average; the beet tartine made up for it! 
And the dainty china is a nice touch

Do you have a gift shop that is your 'go-to' for unique items?  For me, it is Flair in Kalispell.  Many Montana-made gifts.  A diverse selection of funny items such as socks with patterns or quotes.  So for a recent birthday, I dropped in.  I walk the whole shop, with a particular eye for the sale rack.  This day, bingo!  Lately, every time I pull out my wallet, I have been a bit embarrassed by the worn corners.  So, this charming wallet caught my eye - and on sale, too!  Oh, don't worry, I didn't forget the birthday present.
"Caution" socks for Spousal Unit's birthday - THAT'S a
story for another post!

I know all of you have been worried sick about my unfinished Christmas ornaments.  At last report, 25 out of 30 were complete.  Drum roll, please!  All done!  After all, as some retail outlets are already telling us, only 146 days until Christmas!
Josie really does have 2 ears!
Aren't sleeping cats just adorable?  Most of the time, my attempts to sneak up on them are unsuccessful - darn them for having such good hearing!  But this day, I managed a couple of cute shots.


Despite the heat, Maggie likes to cover her nose ...
Last night, our neighbor stopped by and surprised us with Flathead Lake cherries.  Cherries thrive along the shores of the largest fresh-water lake in the US west of the Mississippi.  The combination of a northern climate and winter temperatures moderated by a huge water body, provide ideal growing conditions.  SOOOO good.

This morning, our son sent us pictures from the UK, where he is visiting his paternal grandparents.  This warmed my heart in so many ways - we are thrilled that he gets this special two-on-one time with them.  Also, it is delightful to know he is thinking of US!  And, while visiting the Thorp Perrow Arboretum, he was so thoughtful to take pictures of subjects he knew would interest us.  Here are a few.

I hope you've enjoyed this post as much as I have reveled in putting it together. From Montana, wishing you the joy of the simple things in life!

Please do take the time to visit my fellow blog hosts at the following memes!  I appreciate you all.

All Seasons
Friday Bliss
I Like Thursday
Nature Notes
Saturday's Critters
Thankful Thursday
Wandering Camera
Willy Nilly Friday
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