Let It Snow

Wow!  I was super excited for the snow, but quickly realized I was more excited about the idea of it.  Yesterday afternoon it had just begun to snow when I got to my hotel.  I couldn’t stop smiling as I unloaded my car and the big, weighty snowflakes covered me.  It brought back so many memories and made me feel like a kid again!  I kept peeking out the window throughout the evening to check the status of the snow.

My Snow Gauge

My Snow Gauge

This morning I was forced to deal with the reality of interacting with the snow, not just my fantasy of it as I watch from a window.  As I walked to the parking lot, I immediately had an “OH” moment as I noticed all the other cars with their windshield wipers in the air.  How could I have forgotten one of the simplest tricks!  While scraping off the car, I maintained that goofy grin as the snow squeaked beneath my feet.  However, after 30 minutes of scraping in single digit temperatures, I think my face may have just frozen that way!

Parade of Lights

Oh how I love small town events!  I was recently in Chinook, MT for their parade of lights.  First thing in the morning I met some new friends at the old sugar beet factory to work on one of the floats.  Christmas music was playing, people were giggling, and power tools were buzzing.  The framework was completed earlier by the same guys who made the homestead float for the wild west parade.  Three hours and two warm up in the car sessions later (I may be a Montana girl at heart, but my body quickly reminded me I live in Florida now), we stood back to admire the twinkling lights of the float.

Now that the float was done, it was time to wonder Main Street and mingle with all the wonderful vendors.  They were selling everything from local food to handmade jewelry to Christmas wreaths.  Of course there were several guns being raffled as well.  It is Montana after all!

Chinook Christmas Stroll

Chinook Christmas Stroll

Waiting for the parade to start, I checked out the festival of trees.  My mom and aunt donated a decorated “chicken” tree including several dozen fresh eggs from their chickens.  All proceeds from the event went to the local volunteer fire department and PAWS.

The Chicken Tree

The Chicken Tree

The main event of the day was the parade.  The floats included everything from local business promotions to teasing a local for turning 50.  I patiently waited for the float I helped with to come by.  It was almost the very last in the parade.  The theme of the float was “join the church crowd” so it stopped at each corner where people would jump on the float or walk alongside it handing out glow bracelets to the kids.  I loved that this church used the parade as an outreach opportunity!

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Join The Church Crowd

Join The Church Crowd

On The Float

On The Float

Memory Lane Is Made Of Dirt

It took me a little longer to get back out to the homestead/ranch than I expected, but it was worth the wait.  We were welcomed by both the cows and a message from my phone company saying welcome to Canada!  The ranch is only 10-15 miles from the border so I can see why my phone got a little confused.

The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee

The original homestead shack built by my great-grandfather is gone, but there are many buildings left from my mother’s and even grandfather’s childhood.  At first glance it’s just a few rundown old buildings and a bunch of cow patties.  However, if you look closer and listen every shack holds a memory, every hill and valley has a story.  My mom showed me where she used to milk Mag the milk cow, where she and her horse Concho loved to ride, the spot on the creek where she learned to swim, the best spots for sledding, and even where the outhouse stood that she used as a child.  It was such a beautiful day and so special being out there with my mom!

Old shop where my mom and her brother and sister would play basketball growing up

Old shop where my mom and her brother and sister would play basketball growing up

Where old Mag the milk cow used to provide for the family

Where old Mag the milk cow used to provide for the family

Leading the way to the creek

Leading the way down memory lane

Wild Things And Wild Places

Only a little over a week until my next Montana trip and I’m getting so excited!  I have to let you in on a little secret.  Before every trip, I get all pumped up listening to songs and watching videos about Montana.  I can spend hours on the official Montana travel site finding inspiration for my next trip!  Below is my favorite video featuring Casey Anderson (host of Expedition Wild and America the Wild on Nat Geo).  I even have a favorite quote from the video.

“…the people who live here have a mindset of allowing it to be wild and seeing that as an asset, and I feel that in that coexistence between the people that are here and the wild things and wild places it just has this mysterious feeling about it that’s just unlike anywhere on earth.”

Visiting the grizzly bear sanctuary mentioned in the video is one of the many activities mentioned in my Montana Wish List.

Visions Of Winter Fun Dancing In My Head

It’s official!  I’ll be back in Montana again in a couple weeks!  This will be my first time there during the winter in almost a decade! I know living in the South so long has made me a little soft, but I’m hoping I toughen up to the Montana winter within a day or two.Snowy Cabin

It won’t be the first time that it’s snowed on me while visiting the Treasure State.   During my 2012 trip it snowed my first full day there, since it was the middle of Junuary.  If you’re not familiar with Junuary, it’s when it feels like January in June!  My mom and I were supposed to sleep in a teepee that night for the first time, but we weren’t prepared for that kind of weather and opted for a nice warm hotel instead.

Junuary

Junuary

It’s very typical that the first snow of the year is in October and the last snow in May.  However, I have seen it snow every month of the year in Montana!  I even remember getting snowed on at an Independence Day cookout once!

I’ve been away from it long enough that the snow is now a novelty to me and I can’t wait to go play in it!  These past few days I’ve had visions of ice skates, snow shoes, and sleigh rides dancing in my head.  Stay tuned to see which Montana Wish List events get checked off during this trip!

Home For The Wild West Holidays

I got a call from my mom and my aunt and adventure is in the air!  The three of us feed off each other and you never know what might happen (remember our silliness in Glacier Park this summer?).  It started out a somewhat normal conversation…we’re listening to Christmas music on our road trip, so of course we thought of you.  Somehow that turned into the three of us planning a flash mob during their small town parade of lights next month!

Let’s backup a minute and figure out how we got here.  Last month they helped organize the Wild West Days in Chinook, MT.  They helped with the stick horse parade, the can-can contest, and even got involved in the Miss Kitty look alike event.  We are not sit on the sidelines kind of people!

Chinook, MT Wild West Days

Chinook, MT Wild West Days

Bandits taking over the Wild West parade

Bandits taking over the Wild West parade

Guess which Miss Kitties are my mom and aunt!

Guess which Miss Kitties are my mom and my aunt!

In addition to running different events, they also entered the 1st place float!  My uncle and family friend built the float to honor the centennial of our family homestead.  My grandma played beauty queen and waved to crowd.  A couple of the dogs and chickens even rode the float for authenticity!

The guys and their prize winning float!

The guys and their prize winning float!

My grandma playing beauty queen on her family homestead float

My grandma playing beauty queen on her family homestead float and yes that’s Sponge Bob in the window!

The chickens even made it on the float!

The chickens even made it on the float!

Since they now have a reputation as master float builders, their church asked them to be in charge of the float for the annual parade of lights.  I remember going to the parade as a little girl all bundled up, mesmerized by the lights. We talked about different ideas for the float including a surprise flash mob.  I LOVE Christmas and music and lights and flash mobs, so I don’t think I’ll be able to sit this one out!  I’m already listening to Christmas music looking at plane tickets!  Hopefully I’ll be able to scratch off a few items on my Montana bucket list while I’m there!

Finally Fall?

The weather is finally cooling down here in Florida and I am loving every minute of it!  Out of stubbornness I have been wearing light sweaters and scarves in 85° weather for about a month now.  I am ready for Fall…and for … Continue reading

Oh To Be Outside!

This cooler weather has me wishing I could be playing outside today! This is from my last trip to Yellowstone Park. I am really hoping I can make it back there during the winter. The park is beautiful in the summer, but absolutely breathtaking in the winter!

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