Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Willing Crew

A couple weeks ago, a willing crew of offspring plus one showed up to help us old folks with the autumn yard clean up.  

Erin, Greg, me, Sam, Rachel + Riley, Jenna, Grandma and Matt on the bags.

In just two hours, this crew did what it would have taken me five days to accomplish; but the real action was across the street.  A huge crane arrived and began to lift the trusses onto the house.   

Riley was especially interested in the remodeling since it was being done on her house.  The new construction will easily double the size of the house. 

Bingo!  At the end of the day, the trusses were in place and ready to be crowned with roofing.

As a reward, we provided Little Caesars pizza.  

Something is up with these two.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Julie comes to town

Exciting things happen when Julie comes to town.  On General Conference Sunday, she brought her boyfriend, Bobbie for all to meet.  I guess there were upwards of 25 people gathered for dinner at Mike's house.     

Bobbie, Julie and Sydney
I don't think Bobbie was overwhelmed by all the family at the gathering, but I can only guess that he was impressed.

Okay!  A couple weeks later our neighborhood was invaded by all kinds of official vehicles - police, fire, rescue, HAZMAT, homeland security, FBI, and air force communication.    

Fire truck in front of our house.

On a routine investigation of a home just up our street, police noticed some chemicals that could have been used for making a bomb.  They immediately called for help, and soon the official invasion began.  HAZMAT people in full dress were going into the house.  Our neighborhood was not evacuated, which was nice for us.  

Official vehicles lined our streets.

A command center was set up in front of the house in the middle of the street.  When the sun went down, the area was lighted by flood lights, and the investigation lasted well into the wee hours of the morning.

During the investigation, our front lawn became a gathering place for the curious, both neighbors and strangers.  From my vantage point, I didn't observe any abusive behavior by the authorities.  
Indeed, a least one person told me later that the police and city officials were very friendly and even helpful during the investigation.

I thank the powers that be for the courageous people that take care of dangerous things like this.



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Glacier National Park

Okay!  Normally the second week in August is quite warm, but not so during our visit to Glacier National Park.  Bev and Debbie were "not happy campers," as we wound our way up the Road to the Sun.  

We boarded our reserved Red Bus at the ranger station in Apgar, just a little distance away from the town of West Glacier.

Before leaving, our tour guide took time to explain safety procedures.  During the ride, which ended atop of Logan Pass, he gave us interesting facts, via the vehicle's intercom, about the park.  I was impressed that he didn't wear a coat at anytime during the ride, but I'm sure he had the driver's heater on full blast.  

The bus was equipped with wool blankets which were used by all.  Finally, at the visitor's center on top of the pass, the guide pulled a canvas top over the bus, and a good thing he did, as buckets of rain fell on us during the return trip.  

We were only able to stand up when the bus was safely not moving.  Only myself and a few others made the effort to grab the crossbars and raise ourselves in order to get better views of the magnificent scenery.  While standing I got this glorious pic of trees pointing to clouds.  

The Road to the Sun has an interesting history which can be read about online.  I was interested specifically in the geology of the area.  The strata actually was  lain down by an ancient sea millions of years ago, and having since gone through metamorphism, is now limestone.  I'm sure I could have found sea shells embedded in the rock if I would have looked.  The strata looks like the massive outcropping in Provo Canyon.  

Now, the elevation of Logan Pass is only 6646 feet, yet the perception of the park is one of that of being more massive.  

I was sort of glad that a cold front was moving through because the clouds added a certain mystical beauty to the landscape.  The glacier that carved this valley must have been at least 4,000 feet thick.

The storm front moved swiftly across Logan Pass.  Even I was shivering as the bus began its descent down the Road to the Sun, and we were all grateful the bus was buttoned up.

This little chipmunk was right at my feet as I took his picture.

After a couple days, we arrived home only to be surprised to find that the toilet fairy (Noorda) had paid a visit.  Surprise!!!

New toilet.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Seeley, Kalispell, & WhiteFish

We set out this August to pursue another bucket-list item, that of visiting Glacier National Park.  A friend was nice enough to offer us the use of his mountain cabin located in Seeley Lake, a town that is one to three hours from any place in lovely Montana.  On the plus side, we found great joy in the quiet serenity of tranquil surroundings.  

Our host only asked us just one thing - to mow the lawn.  We arrived late Friday afternoon.  I was anxious to press the automatic garage door opener, and was delighted when it actually worked.  With a smile I drove into the garage, but 
as I got out of the car, I detected a strong odor of gasoline, and my smile quickly turned.   Thankful that there was no explosion.  We opened the two windows and left the door open hoping the fumes would swiftly dissipate.
The next day, my friend
Mike went right to work, as the weeds were knee high.  It wasn't long before Walt, a local church leader, and his wife visited us, and before they left Mike had the lawn mowed and set the hose sprinkler.

The next-door neighbors, Loren and his wife came over to welcome us, and give us advice on things to do in the area.  I really think this area would be a great place for younger folks accumulated to outdoor activities.


The home had a very friendly atmosphere, but the gas fumes daily plagued us.  Mike and I moved the lawn mower, four wheeler and gas container outside, along with a section of carpet and several foam mats which smelled badly of gas.  We moved practically everything in the garage around in hopes of finding the smelly source, but to no avail.  Upon our departure six days later, we told Loren, the neighbor, that we left the windows open.  He assured us that he would keep an eye on the garage.    

Dining area.



Deer were a part of the scenery, it seems.  It was almost as if they were tame, which provided many opportunities for us to get some really good photos.  

All mothers love their offspring.

A small farmers market was set up alongside the highway, not far from Walt's church.  It was run by Mennonites.  Bev and Debbie got a kick out of looking at the freshly harvested veges.  Bev was looking for a deal on huckleberries, but unfortunately they were sold out.  By the way the hucks were selling for about $60.00 a gallon. 

What Seelly Lake doesn't have is a movie theater or playhouse.  It does have a little fast food place called "Pop's,"  which is for sale.  This place makes great Huckleberry shakes, by the way.  Across the highway is a nice steak house, and close-by are a couple of tourist traps.  Also in town are a couple of boat/ATV rental shops, a grocery store, a fabric shop, and an ACE hardware store, and really that is about it.

The road around the lake itself is called Boy Scout Road.  At one point on this lovely drive, we stopped on a bridge to view a large growth of lilies on the pond.   An old pickup truck stopped next to us as we stood there, driven by an older local fellow.  He just wanted to welcome us to his town, and we commented how beautiful this area was.  He told us that in the winter, the snow gets up to 6 feet level.   

After spending a couple days of restful seclusion in Seeley, we ventured northward to visit a couple of historic towns.  Kalispell was first on the list.  On the side of the road was a directional with an arrow that said "Conrad Mansion," so guess what?  That was our first destination.   One of it's earliest settlers, Charles Conrad was a successful entrepreneur in this town.  
Unfortunately, we didn't get inside of his mansion, as it is closed on Mondays, but we did wander the spacious, and beautifully kept grounds.   

Conrad Mansion

Bev enjoys a moment of rest on the mansion's deck.

After leaving the Mansion, we came across a delightful old school, which is now called the Museum at Central School.  It was built in the 1894, and sold to the city in 1993 for one dollar.  It was opened as a museum in 1999.

The wildness of Montana's past is portrayed in this wonderful building.  There are Indian artifacts galore, as well as original mountain man stuff.   

On the second floor is a room devoted to the logging industry.  On display is an original saw mill from the late 1890's.  I found this of great interest, as my Grandfather was the proud owner of several of these types of mills.  He was one of the early lumber barons in the Mt. Shasta area of Northern California during the period of westward expansion.  

In this building are some of the works of Charles Russell, the great artist who, at the age of 16, made his way to Montana and lived out his life capturing the "old west" on canvas.  

I think this one is of Sitting Bull.

Just north is the town of Whitefish, which caters more to tourists, in my opinion.  Several streets are lined with antique/gift shops, many of which display rocks and minerals.  The town also has a railroad museum. 

Now, some time ago, Bev had found on the internet that Loulas restaurant had the best rated huckleberry pie in the west; so Debbie entered the address into her smart phone, and we were led directly to right spot, but guess what?  There was no sign of Loulas.  Determined to not give up, I slowly cruised the street looking, searching, seeking.

I ended up back at the exact coordinate, and found an obscure door, probably a service entrance, with "Loulas" scripted on it in small lettering, but Bev was delighted, so we entered the establishment the back way.

Bev paid a small fortune for this pie, but hey, you only live once, right?

My next posting will be about our exciting adventure in Glacier National Park, so be sure to check back in about a week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

9-11. 3000 flags displayed.

9-11 happened to fall on Sunday this year.  So after dinner we decided that an appropriate Sabbath Day activity would be to wonder among the flags on display on the Sandy City mall.  Each year the city displays 3000 flags, each with a name of an innocent victim of terrorism attached to it.  The event is called Healing Field.

Jenna & Erin


Jenna & Matt

We were delighted to discover that a program was being held.  On center stage was the Salt Lake City Mass choir, which thrilled us with jubilant sacred music.  The leader was excellent in his craft, and it wasn't long before a nice crowd came forward to celebrate Jesus by dancing.  

Alex Boye was instrumental in getting the predominately white crowd to participate.  After the first number, he came forward and announced that he was a Mormon, and that it was okay for everyone to join in the fun.

Alex Boye

After the singing and dancing, Sterling Poulson, newsman and choral conductor, gave a serious presentation about the 9-11 tragedy.  

It all ended with a gun salute.  I just got lucky when I snapped the following photo.  

Real fire coming from the barrel.  

In a moment of silence for the victims, Sterling asked us to appreciate the beauty of nature, and fortunately the Lord provided a beautiful sunset for us.

Sunset as viewed from the grassy Sandy mall.