Friday, November 17, 2017

The Spirit is A-Movin'

My Christmas spirit has arrived.  Unpredictable, it is rarely one event that brings it on.  Rather, an accumulation of positive emotions rolls in like a wave and I am caught up, rising on it like a surfer.  My goodwill is overflowing - and I think I know why.

ONE: Bread pudding.  I am not conscious of my rationale, yet bread pudding seems to go hand-in-mitten with autumn.  Maybe since it's warm, filling and deeply satisfying?  Especially when it's served with huckleberry sauce and vanilla ice cream!

TWO: Feathers and fur.  Deer are certainly not unique in our neighborhood.  After all, as you read in a recent post, they ate our Halloween pumpkins!  But glimpsing one at a gallop in the snow is priceless.

These two bald eagles kept close watch over some carrion less than a mile from our log home, making sure the ravens below didn't consume too much.  In 1978, the year bald eagles were listed as a federally endangered species, only 12 known nesting pairs remained in Montana.  In 2014, the last year data was collected, biologists counted 700 nesting pairs.  Incredible - I'm so glad we're going to be neighbors!

Our furbaby Josie has been vomiting (sorry if this is gross), a growing cause for concern that prompted a trip to the vet.  Turns out, she has lost almost a pound in the last 9 months and Doc suggested blood work and an ultrasound.  I won't keep you in suspense - she has a gall bladder issue that can be treated with medication - whew.  (Equally important, it is medication we can mix with her wet food - it is almost impossible to give her meds directly unless you want Wolverine-like scratches!)  Above you can see how tired (and relieved) she was after the day at the vet!

THREE: Walks "over the river and through the woods".  Water, snow, sky, trees - the Artist's palette stretches out toward the horizon - an immeasurable gift for the casual observer, and for the blogger intent on capturing images that come close to replicating the real thing.

Whitefish River

Pedestrian bridge
Nature's ornaments

Coming night ...
After a snow, the woods are at once a clean sheet and an open book; the white brings a purity that I am reluctant to mar with my boot prints.  And yet it is prime time to see animal tracks, and how snow manages to pile onto even the most delicate plants.  So peaceful.

FOUR: The refreshing passion of youth.  As a capstone project in their senior year, the students of the culinary art program at Flathead Valley Community College manage a pop-up restaurant in the kitchen at the school.  The chefs-in-training do it all, from naming the establishment to defining the menu to executing on the 3 weekends the restaurant will exist. 

The name Six One reflects the gender composition of the class - six females and one male. The team selected a menu of international small plates to delight our taste buds.

Given Spousal Unit's penchant for cooking, it was a match made in heaven.

He could watch the preparation while we savored our selections.

And savor we did, the food and the top-notch service.  The culinary program can count on our reservation every year!

FIVE: Pride in Montana.  Did you know that every year, a different National Forest is selected to provide a tree for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol for the Christmas season?  And did you know that this year, that National Forest is nowhere other than Montana?

This year's tree, a 79-foot Engelmann Spruce, was chosen from the Kootenai National Forest in the northwest corner of the state.  It was harvested near Yaak on 11/8 and will travel 3,000 miles via truck.

And did you know that we saw the tree in Whitefish as part of its whistle-stop tour? YES, we did!

Rig with escort - Big Mountain of Whitefish in the background
Spousal Unit signing our names to the banner
Top of the tree, visible through clear plastic at the end of the rig

Check to see if the tree is coming to a town near you!!!

Larry "The Trusty Trucker" Spiekermeier, will deliver the tree to the Capitol on 11/27.  (A native of Plains, Montana, he told us he was chosen for the honor based on his safety record - 1.6 million accident-free miles.)  The Capitol grounds team will secure the tree and decorate it with thousands of hand-crafted ornaments from communities across Montana.  The tree will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, on 12/6 during a ceremony on the West Lawn beginning at 5 p.m.  Assuming it is televised, this is one proud Montana family that will be watching!

Linking to
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  1. Gorgeous photos and so much good food! Hope kitty is all better soon. Have a great weekend :)

  2. Beautiful holiday images! I've think you've nudged me a little closer to the Christmas spirit :-)

  3. Gorgeous winter scenes. I'm holding back, anticipating, waiting on Christmas.

  4. I LOVE Christmas, but it seems to get here earlier and earlier each year. Let's enjoy Thanksgiving first! Bread pudding, I'm in love. Deer are everywhere here. I haven't seen a Bald Eagle in years. I have three kids and am not interesting in another, no cats for me. Wow, nature at it's best. Good eats. A long trip for a tree.

  5. Lovely winter shots! And that bread pudding - yum!

  6. Beautiful winter scenes but your poor pussy cat. Glad it can be treated

  7. Hello, what a action packed post. I love the beautiful scenery and water views. Nice sighting of the eagles and the deer. Gorgeous snowy scenes and skies. I am glad your kitty will recover with the medicine. The food sounds delicious, I wish I could try the bread pudding. Thank you so much for linking up and for sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend.

  8. I finally made it to Montana in August. We only went as far as Little Big Horn. I'm looking forward to more exploration next trip. Love your post!

  9. Wasn't it exciting to see the tree?! I just loved it. Glad you are enjoying your first season here. :) Kit

  10. That's wonderful about the Christmas tree and of course I love seeing the snowy mts. We have a chance of snow flurries tonight and I hope we get a dusting on the mts we can see. Love your photos...beautiful deer and eagles! Hugs to you from NC!

  11. So many beautiful photos. I'm sorry your cat is ill but I'm glad the fur baby will recover.

  12. I am so envious of where you live...Whitefish is so beautiful and we enjoy the Montana Coffee Trader shop there. We want so much to come again, it has now been three years since our last visit. Thank you for sharing so much of the beauty. Have a marvelous Thanksgiving~

  13. Oh do hope your fur baby will mend quickly ~ lots of healing reiki hugs to her and all ~ lovely photos ~ glad you have some Christmas Spirit ~ love the deer in the snow photo!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka ( A Creative Harbor)

  14. You certainly live in a wonderful part of the world! What fabulous images :)

  15. Ooooo, I want some of that bread pudding with the big pile of ice cream. Your photos and collages are fabulous. Glad kitty is going to be ok. I'm getting in the christmas spirit too - but have to wait until Friday - Thanksgiving is tops on my list for now - I have my daily schedule planned and lists made - got most everything done that was scheduled for today.

  16. What a stunningly beautiful part of the world to live in, the scenery is breathtaking especially with that first sprinkling of snow rating on every possible surface. Seeing the tree travelling to the Capitol must have been thrilling, well done Montana!
    Happy to hear that Josie is going to be o.k she'll be back to her fighting weight again very soon I'm sure.
    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

  17. I love to have bread pudding!Enjoyed seeing your pictures. Happy Thanks giving day!

  18. Nice things one after another starting with the gorgeous bread pudding set, then galloping deer, overlooking eagles, dusting of snow, mouth-watering foods, and travelling big tree, but the nicest thing would be Josie’s getting better with medication. She’s so adorable in her sound sleep.


  19. What a wonderful post of so many good things to enjoy. Woohoo that you got to see the Capitol tree and it's headed to the White House from your now home state! Glad your furry friend has an easy treatable malady. I'm getting the Christmas Spirit here in the Pacific Northwest, too.

  20. this is such a great post!! action packed and critter filled, just how i like them!! amazing food and breathtaking landscapes - i found the information on your christmas tree quite interesting!!

    we are still waiting on, very impatiently!! happy turkey day!!!

  21. What fun information about the Christmas tree! That's a long way to haul a tree!! I believe that each year since wwii, Norway has supplied the UK (Trafalgar Square) with a Christmas tree to thank them for their help in the war. It's probably closer from Norway to London than it is from Montana to D.C.

  22. Happy Thanksgiving Angie..... Lovely photos...I hope your cat will feel better. We have been having issues with our two 15 year olds, but they too are on medication and doing better...Regarding my story on my blog. I was DXD with multiple sclerosis 16 years ago and was very sick for about a year. I am going better with ups and downs now...I love the yard....nature is healing...Michelle

  23. Brilliant blog, something for everyone.

  24. his is an interesting post. Your bread pudding looks so delicious. I hope your furbaby Josie is recovering. Beautiful pictures from your walks. The Six One really serves great looking food!

  25. Interesting post! Enjoyed seeing your pictures!

  26. Wow, I don't think I have ever seen a blog post so filled with exciting information-- from sick cat to eagles to culinary delights to... the National Christmas Tree! Montana is the only one of the 50 States which I have not yet visited. Maybe some day. Thanks so much for stopping by my post with your responsive comments.

  27. Seeing snow in your photos made me jealous, Angie. We are so overdue. We have been having a very warm November, Denver broke a weather record with 81 degree today! It is so unusual! I heard we may get snow soon, however, as a cold front is expected. I hope your Josie is feeling better. How interesting that the DC National Tree will come from Montana! My son went to undergrad university in DC and we loved seeing the National tree while he lived there.


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