Friday, August 15, 2014

Autumn's in the air and the birthday girl is falling head over heels for Beartooth beauty

Cows graze contentedly in a thunder storm earlier in the week.  Workers on the new roof took a rain day Thursday. 


Berries are ripening this week, ready for the bears and birdies.

Hawks are on the watch for food, fall. 


Cookie and Keller load up on Park City, Montana, corn.

THERE'S SOMETHING GLORIOUS about this time of year in the West.
Mornings are crisp, mid-day is sunny, the leaves are beginning to turn, and autumn is but a couple weeks away. It's time to layer up!
The Park City corn is ready, and we're among hundreds of Montanans and visitors carting home bags! Chokecherries and huckleberries are attracting bears and birds.
We've already seen snow in the high mountains!
While Labor Day signals the end of summer, winter can come anytime now.  For in Montana, as my grandmother remarked, "We have nine months of winter and three months of company."
Pansies love the cooler weather.
High Chaparral -- above the remodeling project -- is green and inviting.
The prime season seems too brief up here in the northern Rockies.
Bruce Keller's grand construction project is at the window framing stage.
Despite a melancholy mood as the days grow shorter,  flowers are still gorgeous, the hay is mostly in, wildlife is abundant and the birds and bees are making whoopee while the squirrels salt away seeds and nuts for winter.
IT HAS BEEN a glorious, productive time here at High Chaparral in Stillwater County. An exciting, four-room addition begun July 1 is rounding the bend toward completion.
Still, I must complain. Briefly.
For years, I've begun my birthday celebration on the first day of the month of my birth.  So August 1 has signaled "day number one" of Cookie's natal celebration.
Bighorn sheep are about to begin mating,
here cavorting above Stillwater Mine.

Cookie's birthday includes a half-dozen or more parties!
The revels continue through Labor Day, but this year I'm short-changed!  Labor Day falls on Sept. 1, giving me only a month of celebrating.  Normally, I get a month and several days.
SO I'M MAKING the most of it. Please forgive the kvetching.
The exercise girls threw me a party, and I turned it around a bit, creating a "very, merry unbirthday" party for them, a la the Mad Hatter's song in "Alice in Wonderland."
I'm booked to play piano at Montana Jack's Aug. 22 and Aug. 31.
And I've begun plans for a family reunion in August of 2015, a year from now, if you're out there, family and friends.

Tuscany awaits -- coming soon here!
COMING UP:  A swing through Tuscany in northern Italy, beautiful any time of year but particularly gorgeous as September approaches.   
Our look at California's enticing coastal hotels -- all dog friendly -- plus travel by train and a delightful, all-female "Two Gentlemen of Verona" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. That's what we're up to. We're committed to making our travels fun, and passing along that enjoyment with tips and useful pointers. We hope you'll enjoy, learn and live and tune us in Wednesdays and weekends at:

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