Tuesday, June 22, 2021

An announcement

To my email subscribers: beginning July 1, 2021, the Blogger email subscription service will be turned off.  Therefore, you will no longer receive emails when I publish a new post.

As you have probably discerned by now, I almost always publish my posts on Sunday mornings, US Mountain time.  I hope you will make a note of my URL and come back weekly to check out my latest adventures!  

https://tentoesinthewater.blogspot.com/

Just another change in technology -- we can adapt!

Thanks for supporting "Letting Go of the Bay Leaf" for the last four years - I appreciate every one of you!


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Mosaic Monday #136: Where Our Past is Present

Before the nineteenth century, human habitation in the Flathead Valley was exclusive to the American Indians of Northwest Montana.  This was a vital location for a variety of the tribes in the area.  The Kalispel, Blackfeet, Shoshoni, and Nez Perce used the area seasonally, while the Salish, Kutenai and Upper Pend d'Oreille tribes called the Kalispell area home.  This, and so much more, I learned at the Northwest Montana Museum when #1 Son and I visited in September 2020.

Much of the first floor is dedicated to Native Americans and pioneer Frank Bird Linderman, who made it his mission in life to preserve their vanishing history for future generations.


Linderman came west at 16, ending up in the Swan Valley as a trapper and trader.  He became a trusted friend and champion of Montana American Indians.  During his time in the legislature and afterwards, he worked tirelessly to establish and preserve the rights and basic human necessities of tribes from all over Montana.

Linderman was adopted into the Blackfeet, Chippewa, Crow and Kootenai tribes.  All of the American Indian artifacts in the exhibit were personal gifts from friends and acquaintances.

Today, Linderman is best known as a highly acclaimed author; his most remembered books are those that directly preserve American Indian culture, including biographies of notable American Indians such as Crow Chief Plenty-coups and Medicine Woman Pretty-shield.

The bison-hide tipi easily deserves a place among the leading examples of mobile design.  Averaging 10 - 14 feet in diameter, it took a single person less than 15 minutes to set up and 3 minutes to take down.  The tipi's natural insulation got its occupants through the worst winter with minimal fuel, and the sides could roll up and vent during the summer.  During the day, it was evenly lit, and, with a fire, illuminated the camp from the inside at night.   It required no painting, save decoration, and was repaired simply by patching.

Except during the winter, most camps moved every few days, 10 - 15 miles at a time.  This was beneficial for sanitation, and moving to new locations ensured ample supply of wood and grazing for horses.  And if there were any hostile tribes in the area, it kept them guessing! 

I was fascinated by this rough map of Montana, detailing early Indian tribal distribution.  There is great diversity among the tribal nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments.  Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.



The subsistence patterns of Tribal people were built on hunting, fishing and gathering.  Fields of edible roots and berries were harvested in season; fish were abundant in lakes and streams; in the forests and meadows were deer, elk, moose and small game.  Forays were made east of the mountains to hunt buffalo.  A rich oral history and deep spiritual tradition guided daily life with a respect for each other, the environment, seasons, plants and animals.

Toward the end of the American Indian exhibit, a Flathead Valley Timeline caught my eye.  Circa 12,000 BC, the glaciers recede, opening the Flathead Valley to human habitation.  Circa 1,400 AD, the Kutenai and Salish people are in the Tobacco and Flathead Valleys.  In 1855, a reservation was established in the Mission Valley, and settlement of the Flathead by white men commenced.  By 2010, the population of Flathead Valley reached 91,000.  Editorial note: by July 2019, that number expanded to 103,806, a 14% increase - it's safe to say growth is accelerating rapidly!  (all pictures will enlarge if clicked on)


And, since Spousal Unit and I both work part time at the ski resort, I was intrigued to read this history.


My Dear Neighbor Friend used to work at the Cornelius Hedges Elementary School, and I occasionally went to the school to assist with some of her students.  I was thrilled to see this information on the school's namesake!!!



And maybe it was also a coincidence that, until 1997, this mountain lion lived north of Marion, Montana (we live 10 minutes from Marion)?


During our visit, the museum had a special exhibit - "Gold Dust - Montana's Haunted Landscapes".  On July 28, 1862, John White struck gold at Grasshopper Creek and kicked off the Montana Gold Rush.  Hidden beneath the Treasure State was an unbelievable amount of gold, silver, copper and other precious metals.  Helena was once home to the most millionaires per capita in the US.  Yet with any boom comes a bust.


The photos in this exhibition document the relics of the Rush.  Some have odd colorations because they were taken on expired Kodak Gold 35 mm film.  And each is printed on a wood panel, which will deteriorate in a manner similar to these structures.  So creative on the part of the photographer (I didn't note the name, unfortunately).




Sometimes, the building housing a museum is an artifact in its own right, and that is the case with this museum.  Construction of this Richardsonian Romanesque building began in 1893.  It was the first public building in town with indoor plumbing and electric lights.  It was created as the Central School for Kalispell.  By 1989, as shown in the timeline below, Kalispell had outgrown this spectacular building.  

On December 15, 1997, the Kalispell City Council voted 5 - 4 to renovate the Central School and spend $2.5 million to turn it into a museum.



The final exhibit we saw was "Sand Monkeys, Tie Hacks and River Pigs,", the story of the Timber Products Industry in Northwest Montana.  





It would take another post to cover this subject thoroughly - just look at the amount of information on this one wall!


It was inspiring to see this dedication to Anna Severud for her work on this exhibit.



The world of the Flathead Valley has certainly changed since 1,400 AD, but it is encouraging to know that young people are involved in local history, and giving back to the community.  


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. Tuesday (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, June 13, 2021

Mosaic Monday #135: Going Native

I was raised by a lawn and garden perfectionist.  Nary a dandelion to be found in my Dad's rolling Zoysia landscape.   Trees were pruned to showcase the natural architecture of the branches - my Dad's sculptures were as beautiful in the winter as they were when wearing a full coat of leaves.   His vegetable garden was just as meticulous, with ruler-straight rows and cages to keep those tomatoes in line.

Until we moved to our current home in Montana, I strived to be that gardener.

With the new construction associated with our log home, the landscape immediately around the house was a blank canvas.  In the process of making other design choices, I must have thumbed through a hundred Log Home Living magazines.  In most cases, the curb appeal of the featured homes was classic - manicured lawns, rock gardens with showy trees, and lakeside settings with trellises and gazebos.  As tempting as it was, Spousal Unit and I knew that this was not the answer for us.  

Retirement is to be enjoyed, right?  So, for a start, Spousal Unit declared that his last lawnmower would not be coming with us.  OK.  Check.  No formal lawn.  

As for me, I would also want freedom in the summers for hiking, camping, kayaking -- well, you get the point.  So, something low maintenance was in order.

Ever since we lived in Arizona, I have had an aversion to sprinkler systems.  If one is needed regularly, it means the plants in the landscape are not native, not adapted to the rainfall that is normal for the area.  That was it -- I wanted to go native.

"Water, water, water ... There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ration of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous space among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation.  There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be."  -- Edward Abbey

We are three years into this gardening adventure, and I am still learning.  Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a webinar entitled "Conservation Gardening: Landscaping with Montana Native Plants for Montana's Native Wildlife."  Led by David Schmetterling, the webinar covered how to landscape with resource conservation, drought and wildlife in mind.  His "laboratory" was a small city lot around his Missoula, Montana home.

I was enlightened.  Going native is not just about the plants, but the entire ecosystem.  Yes, even the insects, even those who want to eat my plants.  He shared a story about paper wasps who score the bark of aspens to make their large paper nests.   Aspen beetles use the scars to lay eggs.  In the spring, as larvae hatch, ants are there to eat some of them.  The tree responds to the scar by oozing sap, an early food source for butterflies before flowers are blooming.  In other words, if I eradicated the paper wasps, I would impact three or more other species!!!

I resolved to look at my garden differently this spring.  Insects on native plants would be left to their devices.  Infestations on non-natives would be addressed. 

Fairly quickly, I had an opportunity to test myself.  On May 31, I observed some irregularity on the goldenrod, and closer inspection revealed this black and white caterpillar. (I put it on the rock only to get a photo.)  You would be so proud of me - I left it there on the rock!  Of course, anything living has to have a name, so I embarked into the world of caterpillar identification.  Thirty minutes later, I was none the wiser.  It could be an asteroid, the brown-hooded owlet, the camouflaged looper, the common pug, the striped garden caterpillar or the goldenrod gall moth.  Didn't look like any of them!  Spousal Unit suggested I give it a name, so Montanas Angelas it is!

By June 8, I had already lost my resolve, partly because Spousal Unit expressed a concern that the goldenrod would not flower properly.  A few caterpillars were sacrificed, but I didn't touch the few aphids that I found on the goldenrod, or the spittlebugs with their cocoons of spit.

I can take some consolation in my approach to the golden currants -- I did not spray the aphids that massed on the fresh growth on May 31.  And now I can report that the aphids are gone, with no apparent damage.  Lesson learned!


I have written extensively in the past about my attempts to deter the deer and other critters.  I believe I have finally found an effective solution.  This sprinkler features a built-in motion detector, which prompts it to go off suddenly with two full arcs.  I know it frightens me when I forget it's there and I wander into range!  Four have been placed in strategic locations, and the deer no longer come into the main section of the landscaping.  Of course, nothing is foolproof - a female turkey did a number on several of my chive plants by walking in between the sprinklers,  C'est la vie - I'll take it!


Ever since the first time I saw lupines in bloom, I have been longing to have them on my property.  Last May, Dear Neighbor Friend and I transplanted 27 lupines.  As the summer wore on, they all seemed to die.  It was a long shot -- everything I read indicated that lupine don't like their roots to be disturbed.  So, I bought some lupine seeds, and planted them in over 35 spots around the garden.  I have been so pleased with the results - all but four spots sprouted one or more lupine.  AND, as I have been making my rounds, I have discovered that some of the transplants have grown as well!!!

From this seed-planting experience, I have also learned that it doesn't take much magic to get results.  I tossed (literally) some seeds behind our jack-leg fence, and in an open area to the left of the fire pit.  Both areas have yielded a bumper crop of baby lupines!!! They are tiny now, but in years to come, they will put on a majestic spring show!


With the benefit of hindsight, I might wish that I had not agreed to include non-natives in the landscaping.  For example, the sand cherries have suffered die-back every spring.  Last year, I carefully clipped a "diseased" portion and engaged Montana State University.  The experts there advised pruning and sanitizing the shears after each clip.  Well, here we are again with die-back.  This year, I am going to leave it and see what happens.


Similarly, the Norway Maple has been on a slow downward spiral ever since it was chowed by elk the first year.  This spring, it has not leafed out, and I am declaring it dead.  We have not decided what will replace it, but you can be sure it will be a native plant!

Gardens can also benefit from structures for visual interest and texture.  This summer, we have added "lawn art" in several locations.  We are still looking for a large piece, to be placed in the middle of the leach field.  In our mind's eye, we envision part of an old tractor, or perhaps a windmill from a dis-used ranch.


Jokingly, I often ask Montana natives how long you have to live here to qualify.  They chuckle, and politely change the subject.  So, when I read this sentence in the book "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants" by Robin Wall Kimmerer, I was over the moon.  "For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, material and spiritual, depended on it."  Now that, my friends, I can do. 



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. Tuesday (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, June 6, 2021

Mosaic Monday #134: Montana Spring Hiking

Around our house, the snow has long since fed the roots of trees and plants, and the ice left the lake mid-April.  The sun caressing my arms and the green brightening the hillsides brings on the itch to go to the mountains and HIKE!  Of course, with three years of Montana hiking notched in our belts, we know that even in early June, snow can still be deep at higher elevations.   So, we consult my hiking journal, pore over our maps, and manage our expectations of what we may find!  In this post, I will feature photos from four hikes, all completed in May or early June, including our latest adventure on Thursday of this week.  Enjoy!

On June 7, 2018, we were joined by the couple who built our house.  It was a unique day because we racked up not one but TWO hikes.  The first, to Stanton Lake, is a short four miles out and back with minimal elevation gain.  The outstanding feature of this lake is the view of Great Northern Mountain at the west end.


As I noted in my journal - "lake was very calm - great for reflections."  The picture below was taken looking to the east, toward Glacier National Park.


I also wrote that "mosquitoes were troublesome when standing still", which may explain why there were no other photos from this hike!

Next, we went to Marion Lake, 6 miles out and back.  On the lower part of the trail, trillium, spring beauty, and stream violets were blooming.  

Further up, the ground was deep in snow; we estimated up to six feet based on the tree wells (the space around a tree under its branches that does not get the same amount of snow as the surrounding open space). Although the trail was undiscernible, we made our way successfully to the lake because we had hiked this trail before in October 2017!   Only the outlet to the lake flowed free of ice.



On May 17, 2021, Spousal Unit and I repeated the Stanton Lake hike - we knew the lake would be open so that he could fish.  I brought reading material and a fold-up camp chair - we both would be happy!!!  And there were no mosquitoes.  Maybe I had more time to take photos - hence more flowers - or maybe timing our hike three weeks earlier meant these flowers were in bloom.  Whatever - I was thrilled to see my absolute favorite plant - the Fairy Slipper (Calypso) Orchid!


And the reflections were still as good!

On May 23, 2019, we explored a trio of lakes.  This is now one of my favorite places to go for a getaway; three unique lakes in 5 miles with only 1200 feet of elevation gain (in fact, I wrote about another visit to these lakes on October 1, 2020 in this post).  As you will see, the lakes are free of ice and snow early in the season, and Finger Lake in particular has good fishing, too!  Many flowers were in full bloom.  What more could a couple want?  





Finger Lake has a dramatic rocky outcropping which makes a great snack spot/overlook.  Serviceberry was prolific.




The trail to Hole in the Wall, the third lake, leads through a marshy area, and thankfully a log boardwalk was built in 2015 to get over it with dry feet.  As you approach, you can detect a skunk aroma emanating from the abundant skunk cabbage in the marsh.  


And now to our latest hiking adventure, Bramlet Lake in the Cabinet Mountains!  Yes, there was snow, and maybe a little bit of ice.  And maybe Man with Hat did not get to fish -- but we saw no-one, and we were in the mountains, living our dream.  It doesn't get any better than that!


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. Tuesday (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
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