Friday, August 31, 2018

Adventurous August

Oslo Gardens
Three countries.  Five major cities and three towns.  Highs (mostly) and (one) low.  All in 31 days of August.  It seems impossible.  But as Winnie the Pooh says, "People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day."

ONE: Over the pond

We began August in Norway, covered extensively in a previous post.  I offer you a few 'leftover' pictures from that trip - I love leftovers, don't you?
Upper left: Lillehammer Commemorative Piggy Bank
Upper right: Horse and Cart at Folkemuseum
Lower left: Oslo bench
Lower right: Crochet projects at Folkemuseum

Oslo zinnia
Do you ever wonder how airlines price their tickets? We have traveled extensively, and yet we still had a bit of an education when planning our Montana/UK/Norway/Montana trip.  Booking on the web (as you do) was turning up truly exorbitant flight prices.  To cut to the chase, after spending several hours on the web, we made a phone call (imagine that!) and found out that the airlines were considering each leg of our trip as one-ways.  By adding a stop in Newcastle on the way back from Norway, it would qualify as a round-trip, much less than a one-night hotel stay near the Newcastle airport.  Done!  What does this mean for you?  Pictures of our 'last supper' in Newcastle before returning to the US.
Port and a cheese board - hard to resist

TWO: Back home again  

Red Columbine  in our garden
As much as we enjoyed our three weeks of vacation out of the country, it was sublime to return home.  Having left our new landscaping and our two cats in the care of our neighbors, I was anxious to return and relieve them of these tasks.  Maggie and Josie had adapted well to the female teenage caregiver, and the landscaping was thriving.  It was a pleasure to watch our friends open their gifts from our travels abroad.

During our vacation, I finished the last of my tea towels, and I was able to join "Sunday" with the others for a picture of the full set.

Summer isn't summer without a picnic; a neighborhood couple invited us to their ranch for supper and kayaking.  Although the picnic had to be moved indoors due to the vicious yellowjackets, the winged ones didn't keep us from paddling around Lone Lake.  Much to his delight, Spousal Unit hooked a large Northern Pike.

Smoke, not clouds!
Summer in the Northwest increasingly means forest fires, and this season has been no exception - hence the low point in this post.  We joined friends for a hike to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook (subject of a future post), and as we drove along the Going to the Sun Road at 7 am on August 12, we could see a small plume of smoke on a northern ridge above Lake McDonald.  A lightning strike the night before had ignited the forest.   Twelve hours later, as we re-traced our way west, the plume had expanded into a raging fire that scorched everything in its path, right down to the water's edge.  For us, it was almost inconceivable how rapidly the fire had grown in such a short period of time.  Standing on a south-side Lake McDonald beach, we watched tree after tree suddenly flare like bright torches.  We could hear the 'boom' of propane tanks exploding as seven private residences on the north side of the lake were destroyed (many were historic buildings more than 80 years old.  One of them had recently been renovated by our general contractor …)  We could feel the heat of the fire, from 600 yards away.  Below is a video of our view of the fire.

The small crowd gathered on the beach was mostly silent.  What could you say when your heart is breaking with grief over the destruction?  (As of last evening, the fire has consumed 12,432 acres and is 12% contained.  Cooler temperatures and some precipitation have considerably slowed its growth.)

THREE: Colorado
Evening sun dapples the hills of Glenwood Springs; view from the 
home of my brother and his wife
After 7 days at home, we jetted off to Aspen to visit #1 Daughter (see previous post).  My youngest brother and his wife live in Glenwood Springs, an hour from Aspen, and they generously opened their house to us during our stay.  After a day of rafting on the Colorado River, expertly guided by my brother, we soaked in the pools of Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Later in the week, we savored the tasty offerings at the Riviera Supper Club in downtown Glenwood, and walked a bit of the town at night.

All of our wildlife sightings occurred on our last day in Aspen/on our way to Denver.  On our hike to Maroon Bells (see previous post), we saw a pika by the trail but I was not quick enough to get a picture.  I had more success with a video of a family of pine martens - check out this short clip.

View eastward from Independence Pass
And then, on the east side of Independence Pass, we came across a bull moose grazing less than 25 yards from the 2-lane highway.  Amazing!

FOUR: Back home again (reprise)

This time, I could put away the suitcases - our next trip in December is a long way off!  We caught our breath, and started planning for family who arrive on September 7.  Two big projects loomed:  the screening room and the outdoor fire circle.  Our new couches arrived on August 9, and in the last couple of weeks, Spousal Unit has installed the screen, projector and speakers.  For many of you, it won't be a surprise that a Bruce Springsteen concert will be the first show to be viewed on the 135" screen!

The fire circle is coming along well, especially now that Spousal Unit found a company willing to deliver 7 cubic yards of yellow gravel without charging us an arm and a leg!  And today, Stage 2 fire restrictions have been lifted - we won't have to use our imaginations while sitting around the fire pit, or make s'mores in the microwave and bring them outside!

FIVE: In the rhythm

Top: Josie and the box
Bottom: Maggie and the sun
Despite the projects, life has begun to fall back into its normal rhythms.  Morning coffee.  Lovin' on the cats. 

Running the back hills - fall is on its way.

Gardening.  Cleaning.  Checking the trail cam - the badger is STILL AROUND!

Volunteering.  Blogging.  Evening walks with Spousal Unit.

P.S.  If you haven't seen the Christopher Robin movie, I highly recommend it.  The bear with little brain has some remarkably profound things to say.

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."  
August 27 - a stroll by our lake with Spousal Unit - priceless!

Linking to:

All Seasons

I Like Thursdays

Mosaic Monday

Nature Notes

Our World Tuesday
Our World Tuesday Graphic

Saturday's Critters

Sharon's Photo Souvenirs

Skywatch Friday

Wednesday Around the World

Willy Nilly Friday


  1. What a whirlwind! Love all your beautiful shots. And boy is your house very nice!

  2. Keep commenting in my blog because I love your comments.

  3. ...and here I think that I've had quite a trip when I been in a dozen counties over a few says. Wow, you were on the move. August 27 at the lake sure was special. Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the weekend.

  4. Oh wow! Look at that badger! I've read so many delightful "childrens" stories with badgers in them. You sure had a variety of great adventures in August. That's a great fire pit. Good idea to have all that gravel and glad you got a better price on delivery. That couch looks so comfie. Enjoy your shows and the family coming in!

  5. I love the pike!! Nothing like an extended vacation to make you really appreciate coming back home. Enjoy your weekend!

  6. Wow you sure traveled a lot. Sounds like you enjoyed your holiday.
    BUT it is always nice to get back home. : )

  7. A LOT hard to find things to say about each part of this post. Loved the last bit of your trip (and the info on saving some airline money). The fire was just devastating! Our friend in N California completely lost his house. It was willed to him by his mother who he lost to cancer two years ago. Now the house and all the keepsakes are gone. It was horribly sad. We worry about wildfire here a lot. Have had some smoke in the air, but it was worse last year. Lovely shots from your return and the time in Colorado!

  8. Angie, What a great summer month. Seeing the fire is sad. Love to see the animal videos. I absolutely loved Christopher Robin and second your endorsement to see the movie. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  9. Wow, traveling is fun but it is always nice to come home. The wildfires at Glacier were terrible, I heard they made visitors leave the park at one time. Great videos of the Pine Martens and the Moose. The Badger is a great capture. Wonderful post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend! PS, thanks also for the comment on my blog.

  10. Sounds like you are living the life! I'm sorry to hear of the fires though. For several days in the last couple of weeks, we have had heavy smog from the northern fires. I think the news said the smoke was from Canada though. Still must be a horrific fire for smoke to reach us from that far away. It's terrible to lose a home and all belongings, I hope everyone got out safely.

    Your fire circle looks a lot like our water garden circle where we sit every night and watch the sunset. I hope you are enjoying the warmth on cool evenings soon.

  11. Hi Angie. That’s a good tip about flights. I must look into that as we normally just but a return flight and leave it at that. Only been to Newcastle the once but I remember it is a very “vibrant” place with something of a reputation as a party town. Guess that’s why you two chose it?

    It must have been very heart-breaking to watch that fire and being unable to do anything about it, especially so when you know many of the people involved. It has been so dry here that there have been a number of moorland fires but nothing like we have seen on the news from North America.

    I'm looking forward to watching that Bruce Springsteen concert. Save me a place on the front row with one of those huge ice creams please. That’s after the camp fire and barbecue of course!

  12. Fantastic pictures of the nature, I love it.

  13. Now I could get attached to that port and cheese plate in a hurry. Whenever I visit the UK I always make sure to have at least one good ploughman’s lunch and I check with locals to see where a good one is served. I have found a local deli where you can get good pickled onions, but they cost an arm and a leg. Pickled walnuts too - the best!

  14. It's all happening at your place isn't it. Your holidays sound full of fun and excitement. Those couches look both comfy and fabulous. Such a big screen. I am imagining a lot of great viewing time will spent in this room. Fires are so destructive, destroying all within their path. How sad that people have lost their homes and possessions.

  15. Hello Angie! I hope they get the road opened again for your company. Love all the photos. I can tell Fall is coming by my burning bushes. They have a reddish hue to the tips of their leaves. I am loving all this cool weather and the first Griz game was wonderful! Take care, Kit

  16. What wonderful travels and photos. It's always nice to return home with the feeling of renewal. Your home is looking grand and the wildlife visitors caught on the cam are always a pleasure to see.
    Have a great new week!

  17. What a wonderful and creative series of photos ~ exciting travels and more excitement at home ~ happy creating!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores

  18. It's been quite a year with fires.
    Travel, such fun! So good to be home, tho.

  19. Wow! I didn't know you went to my homeland! You vere so close. I work in Oslo, live near the route to Oscarsborg, and grew up in Telemark. My grandparents (and older) farm was near Heddal stavkirke, and one of the old houses (rosemalt) are at the Folkemuseum...
    Hope you enjoyed the trip. Next time, go along the coast to Northern Norway :)

  20. You pretty much covered it all. You had a full summer!

  21. My goodness, that was a most amazing journey and you got to see so many wonderful things!

  22. Beautiful photos here, including from my favorite state (Colorado). Forest fires are the new normal here too; the ten largest fires in state history have all been since 2000.

  23. WoW!!! what an august, you sure did fit a lot in!!! flowers and food are always standouts for me - not in that order...the sunflowers are gorgeous!!

    the fires have been awful this summer, we are so lucky to live in an unaffected area. the video you shared of the fires was heartbreaking!!

    thanks for the movie recommendation, if the sun does not come out today, we could be headed there!!

  24. and bruce deserves that screen and to be the first show!!!

  25. Nothing like being home after a whole lot of traveling. Love your fire circle. I was wondering this morning where we could put a fire pit in the backyard.
    The Winnie the Pooh books are among my favorite all-time reads. I was 16 or 17 when I was introduced to them. I don't think I would've appreciated them if I had read them any younger. :-)
    Hurrah for completing your set of tea towels, Angie! They are darling. Too cute to dry hands or dishes with.
    Hope they get the fire under control soon. On one hand, I'm glad it was lightening rather than human error starting the fire. But those propane tanks, my gosh!

  26. You really did have a summer filled with travel, Angie! We stayed in Glenwood Springs last year and loved that Iron Mountain Spa. I'm sure it is good to be home for awhile and able to enjoy the beginnings of autumn in your new home. Your new couch and theater room both look luxuriant! Enjoy them!
    The fires in Glacier was so sad. That park has been hit with fires so many years in a row. It really is a testament to climate change. We had smoke all the way here on the front range from that fire and the CA fires. Poor air quality for weeks.
    I'm so glad you got to see a moose and the pine marten sighting was so cool--they are elusive and rarely seen.
    Your tea towels are adorable! What is the next project?

  27. Looks like you had a fantastic August. Watching the fire creep was frightening but also mesmerizing. We’ve had a mess of fires out here in BC, although not near where I am. The resulting smoky skies blanketing the area, however, made the air unbreathable and kept many folk indoors.

  28. Exciting and somewhat scary too (that 'cloud' of smoke! Whoa. Your photo shares afe terrific Angie.

  29. wow, you have been busy. I don´t even know where to start :) Love your Norway imagges. And the ones from your home. Gorgeous. :)

  30. Oh I had no idea of the extent of that fire -- heartbreaking and scary. We still have one burning in hills east of us,but there have been no buildings lost and lately even the smoke has been going the other way. It will not be completely controlled until it rains. .... your high points were amazing and I loved your 'leftovers'. As with a talented cook, same with a talented photographer!! They were great. Enjoy your company -- they are in for a treat in your beautiful home .

  31. You really had a whirlwind August. I'm sure you'll be savouring the memories for months. Wild fires are so destructive. This has been the worst year on record for our province, in terms of acres of forest being destroyed. Fewer houses burned than last year, but every house gone represents a family that must begin again.
    Enjoy the beginning of autumn!

  32. Wow - another wanderer returns! Looks amazing all your travel. Fires after living in Australia always send a shiver down my spine... You deserve some time off to put your feet up, enjoy those new couches and just be - enjoy!
    Wren x

  33. There was so much to enjoy in this leftovers post (I'm going to steal that idea for a future post BTW) Cadbury's chocolate & a Terry's Chocolate Orange for starters! The fire devastation is just unbelievable, that it moved so rapidly and devour so much acreage, my heart goes out to those who lost their homes. The cinema room and the fire pit will be 2 wonderful additions to your already fantastic home and I'm sure your visitors will never want to leave!
    Give feline Maggie a cuddle from me.


  34. My what lovely adventures you have been on. Beauty home country too. I love all the wildlife. Mr Badger looks confident in his surroundings.
    So sorry to see the fires. It’s been such a hot summer on this continent and many others which doesn’t help.
    Sweet tea towels!

  35. Oh Angie, what a wonderful summer you had! All that travel, made better with family, friends and cats! Sounds pretty good to me!

    Thanks so much for stopping over to see me at Marmelade Gypsy! I so appreciated your comment and visit and hope we "meet" again!

  36. Newcastle! I have an aunt that grew up there. I love leftovers too, so thanks for these! OOH, seeing Terry's Chocolate Oranges, and real McCoy Cadbury's (which we can get in Canada, yay) makes my mouth water. Pika, moose, badger, ahh reminds me of Alberta, my home province, which is just north of you. :-) Wonderful shots and memories and explanations. Home to our fur babies, the best. We are doing some renos too in prep for our daughter and grandson's visit at the end of this month! TERRIFIC choice in the Boss for the first viewing!

  37. PS Angie you are a no-reply but at least I found your blog! You maybe need to go through the fix when they changed everything in May/June (google it).

  38. Unless it is a single destination, we usually book thru our travel agent. She's able to find us really good deals and save us the hassle of sorting out different connections. (Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a lovely comment. Hope to see you again at Wednesday Around the World.)

  39. Well, you had quite a summer. As beautiful as your Montana home is, I am surprised that you left for so long, but I can image that it was great to return home. Your Colorado excursion took you to the best parts of the state except for the northern end--near the Wyoming border. I love Glenwood and Independence Pass is great drive. The kitties look like they are really glad that you are home, too.

  40. Everything looks so wonderful! You are making me hungry! Have a great weekend.

  41. These fires have been heartbreaking for all species and so many and it seems we will be seeing more of them.. :( .....I hope people will believe that climate change is real... Enjoyed the rest of your post too...Michelle


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