Sunday, September 1, 2019

Mosaic Monday #43: Becoming Noble

Sky behind our house
"Spend your days thinking about things that are good and true and beautiful and noble, and you will become good and true and beautiful and noble."  Matthew Kelly

Sounds easy, doesn't it?  But anyone that has been in a conflict with someone, or is grappling with a significant personal problem, knows that your mind obsesses over it.  You replay conversations, wondering anew what the other person was thinking when they said such and such.  You might get angry or sad or frustrated all over again.  When I am in the grip of one of these spirals, it takes an almost physical force of will to re-direct my thinking.

First black-eyed susan to bloom
So it is that I find myself today writing this post.  It is my attempt to get my train of thought on a different track.  By looking back through photos from August, I hope to ponder subjects that are good and true and beautiful and noble.  Maybe just a little of it will rub off on me.

In my August 18 post, I wrote about the neighbor girls who won several events at the fair with their goats.   The mama goat was still producing milk in the days leading up to the fair, and we were the lucky beneficiaries of several gallons of it.  And not only that, we had the chance to try our hand at milking – much harder than it looks!  So Head Chef set out to make goat cheese.  This is just one of the batches that he made – so tasty on a cracker or with crudité.

While at the fair, Dear Neighbor Friend and I took a spin around all the display buildings.  I didn’t take many pictures – too busy chatting!

Knock on wood, the fire season in northwest Montana has been mild, but we had a few smoky days earlier in the month.  It coincided with very hot weather, so Spousal Unit and I headed to the lake.  Which lake, you may ask.  That was the fun part – we headed west on Highway 2 with no particular lake in mind.  Something big enough to make fishing worthwhile, but small enough that we wouldn’t be inundated with power boats and jet skis.  Enter Little McGregor Lake, only 20 minutes down the road. 
Kayaking, fishing, sunbathing, a picnic - summer at its best
A pair of eagles and a fledgling were very active at the lake, as were the loons.  It is hard to see in this video, but a couple of the eagles are flying low over the lake, and you can hear the loons calling.  I wondered if the eagles were trying to snatch one of the loon babies.

Each year, Whitefish hosts Huckleberry Days, a shameless excuse to enjoy all things huckleberry while also wandering the booths in Depot Park.  Paintings, ceramics, jewelry, metal art, photography, clothing – something for everyone.  We came home with just a couple of items – it required disciplined restraint!
Sweet Onion Mustard with Horseradish
Ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers - we needed a set for
my end of our long dining room table!
This month has featured weeds on my dining room table.  Yes, you read that correctly – weeds.  Knapweed and yellow toadflax are considered invasive plants in this part of Montana – this means they are harmful to native flora and fauna.  So, cutting the flowers and using them in arrangements is part of my efforts to reduce these plants on our property.  (Eliminating knapweed is actually required by law.)

The longer I live here, the more I learn about the plants of the Rocky Mountains.  When this “daisy” started to bloom in our “prairie”, I was pleased.  Since then, I discovered that daisies which are members of the aster family are the only native daisies in Montana.  Unfortunately, my volunteers do not qualify, so I am pulling these up as I find them.  On the other hand, I was monitoring a dozen of the plants below – once they bloomed, I was able to identify it as a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant – a good guy – they can stay!

Dear Neighbor Friend gave me some fresh zucchini, and I was inspired to make some muffins.  My mistake?  I didn’t take them out of the pan soon enough.  Then, because of the super-sized muffin tops, it was impossible to get down into the cup for a clean separation from the pan, at least impossible without destroying the muffin top!  Oh well, they weren’t pretty but they still tasted wonderful, especially with a cup of coffee in the morning.

Maggie has been making the most of the sun spot in the kitchen.  A few times I have had to check that she is still breathing – she often looks like she has melted into a puddle, she is so relaxed.

Not even the dragonfly that inhabited the kitchen for several days could get her attention.  In the end, the dragonfly died, and was well-preserved in the heat on the sill of one of the upper kitchen windows.  Spousal Unit was able to brush it down without damaging it.  Isn’t it amazing?  One of my sisters-in-law recently posted this on FaceBook: “Legend has it that dragonflies were given an extra set of wings so that angels could ride on their backs.  When you see this winged beauty, it’s an exquisite reminder that an angel from heaven is visiting you.”

Outside, there are all manner of winged creatures.  
Upper row: Female Common Yellowthroat (left and middle); right: Male Common Yellowthroat
Middle left: A flycatcher?  Center: Wood Nymph
Lower row: Need help with identification
With the exception of the butterflies, the pictures in the above collage were taken with my trail cam.  I chose this location in an attempt to capture the beaver, who clearly had been working over this shrub.  Below are the best pictures from the month.
The upper pictures were taken with my phone and were the reason for placing the camera here - the beaver has a trail
through the grass for his tree branches.  Lower pictures are from the trail cam - 1.30 am and 11 pm a week apart.
Sometimes, the trail cam gives you a surprise that just makes you say "Awww."  Come on, say it with me - "Awww."
I have since moved the trail camera, and this is the first capture on the disk.
What is he running from?  I suppose it could be Wily E. Coyote.  Except this was four days later.  Oh well.

Our weather has been getting a little cooler, especially in the evening, prompting us to spend a few heavenly hours by the firepit.  We saw a bat flitting about, and tried our hand at calling a barred owl using a recorded call on our phone (no luck).  In the dim light of early evening, I look back at the house, and I can almost call the grass and wildflowers our prairie.

s we retreated to the house, I took one last photo.  I know my moon shots are terrible – I have seen many from my fellow bloggers and I am always amazed.  But it was an appropriate metaphor for this post – life is not perfect, but if even 95% of it is going right, that is enough.    

P.S.  In case I have worried you, my marriage is as strong as ever, and I am not sick.  Details of the problem that gave rise to this post are not worth the keypad pecks it would take to explain them.

Mosaic Monday
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


  1. A wonderful time ... to read and in each capture. There are fantastic things together with the Family. With the neighbour, looking at the Animal.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  2. As always it's a pleasure to visit you "home" here. The deer is amazing and breathtaking! And the Matthew Kelly quote is a good one to reflect on this week! Wishing you well!

  3. ...spending my days thinking about things that are good and true and beautiful and noble sounds good to me!

  4. That’s a great quote and you shared some beautiful ways you fulfilled that good advice! Your trail cam is a little miracle! .... Your PS kind of made me smile because it didn’t even occur to me that you were talking about either of those serious problems. I guess because you sounded a lot like I do (but more articulate) when I get unduly upset about something I can’t do anything about ... and then I count the (many) things in my life that are good (and true and beautiful). Thanks ... For hosting and for giving me those great words to describe something I have tried to do for a long time.

  5. Glad man in hat shared the dragonfly quote! We had an owl visit last night and a bat! So spectacular!

  6. Like your bouquets of "weeds" - very attractive!

  7. I hope you let the problem go away, just think of all the happy you are creating when we get to see your beautiful posts and the wonderful things you share.

  8. Just a bump on the road. Hang in there. Even me who probably seems eternally happy, has some rough patches. Love your photos! The weather has been so warm lately but lovely cool morns. 😊 Kit

  9. Good for you.
    I get going in those spirals, as well.
    I love the loon calls. They are amazing critters.

  10. i wish it were so easy! But yes visualizing what your want to be is very good.

  11. Happy September Angie! Sorry for the troublesome person and I hope it all clears up one way or another soon.
    We tried to squeezE all of summer into the month of August as the month of July was lost in the process of radiation treatments for my husband. We have had fun with our grandkids and enjoyed lots of visits to local attractions. Now I'm looking forward to autumn!
    I'm still showing our Alaska trip on my blog. I love re-living such a beautiful place.

  12. I love your photos and hope they help you to get out of that spiral. I sometimes get that feeling too and go over everything that was said, but it is not good to dwell on things and what people say is often a reflection of their negativity not you. Your muffins look yummy too and I am going to use up my zucchinis with a muffin recipe.

  13. I love that Rocky Mountain Bee Plant...such a delicate beauty!

  14. Focusing on the positive can help change one's mindset. I hope the beauty you've shown that exists all around you in so many varied ways does cheer you up. The natural world is full of wonder. Thank you for hosting MM.

  15. Angie the loon calls were a wonderful treat this week. You shared so much and filled my eyes with beauty. Thank you for that. Thank you too for your 43rd Mosaic Monday - always look forward to visiting.

  16. I'm going to write some of what you wrote in my journal today. I have such a problem replaying conversations and trying to figure out what someone meant...when it seemed unkind. I've had some hurtful situations in my life that are ongoing and I try my best not to blame myself. Love your critters and beautiful scenes. I baked muffins this week. I always have to soak and scrub the muffin tin. Sometimes I see one in the thrift store that someone didn't bother to wash! hahaha! Hugs!

  17. Another stunning post, Angie. Thank you so much for putting together these wonderful vignettes of your life. I love it all and learn something about those invasive florals. I must check what would qualify here...never thought of it before. Love the videos too...beautiful.

  18. You live in a delightful part of the world, Angie, and you certainly make the most of it. It's always good to take stock of the recent past and learn from it, while forging ahead towards the future. Your photos show that you make the most of each day of the present!

  19. As we become older, Angie, we should become wiser. Wisdom brings many questions to the fore and contemplating our deeds, motivations, beliefs and choices we have made along the way increases our "nobility" as you put it.

  20. Great post. So many beautiful pictures.

  21. I can see you've had a blooming lovely week Angie, even whilst pondering how to be good, true and noble and beautiful! All of which is portrayed so well in your post, love your trial camera pictures and even your weeds are beautiful.
    Have a lovely week!
    Wren x

  22. beautiful, positive words to begin your post. so sad to be caught up in negative words and thoughts, when there is so much beauty surrounding you!!

    i love fairs and craft shows, especially in the fall. great restraint is needed...but i am not much of an impulse shopper!! your weeds are so pretty and displayed in a very beautiful way!!

    nice rack on that deer!! hehehehe

  23. Interesting post. Your trail cam did a great job!

  24. That beaver is quite a sight to see... and so is Maggie!

  25. Always focus on the positive...
    Amazing photographs within your post.

    My good wishes

    All the best Jan

  26. You live in the most amazing place! And homemade goat's cheese? How divine!

  27. Goat cheese sounds great especially homemade. Beautiful post and photos as always Angie. I enjoy reading your posts and seeing what your trail cam comes up with. Have a grand week!

  28. Lovely photos and post! That is a wonderful moon photo. These are certainly good and happy things that should put your mind at ease. I think we should all take advice from our kitty friends :)


  29. An examination of your recent days shows so much to be glad about and so many blessings big and small. Thinking about the perhaps ordinary but good things in life does have a way of putting things in perspective for all of us.

  30. I think I know what you are talking about. I get obssesed with something and it is very hard to change the thinking and attitude and getting unstuck. Things are a lot better now. I had a commercial leadership position in our company dealing with Oklahoma oil and gas producers and they were a hard nosed bunch so I had to be that way also. Lots and lots of conflict for years, I mess with spreadsheets now so I am totally chill.
    I love your telling of late summer in Montana. We are still very warm down here but autumn is coming.

  31. Good advice Angie. You are right not fret. I was wondering about your troubles but very quickly into your post I was engrossed in your travels. I wanted to be there, hearing the loons and watching the eagles. Take care.

  32. Beautiful post ~ so many wonderful photos!

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  33. Hello, you do live in a beautiful place. Life is full of ups and downs, I try to more positive thinking. Your flower arrangement is beautiful. Maggie is adorable. Awesome wildlife sightings. Beautiful photos and mosaics. Have a happy day and a great new week!


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