Friday, December 25, 2015

Knock, knock! Anyone home????

She's alive!!  Yes, we are alive and well!  Now we have internet in the house so there should be no excuse for me not to blog faithfully!  (ahem....)

This has been a beautiful Christmas!  While we miss being with family especially for the holidays, this has been a very nice, peaceful Christmas.  We have about 2 feet of snow on the ground and it keeps coming!  Thankfully Santa brought sleds for the boys for Christmas so they spent the morning sledding down the "slopes" in the yard. There is actually a decent hill and they had a ball!  Unfortunately, Santa did not bring a plow for Josh who has been plowing almost every day now with a road grater (grader??? I don't even know!)pulled behind a tractor- but we are thankful for access to the tractor!).  I've been shoveling snow and it's good exercise but I will enjoy a break from it when the snow lets up.  It is so gorgeous!  These Texans, of course, aren't used to snow and I don't get tired of looking at the beautiful scenery.

Merry Christmas to you!  We love each of you, our sweet family and friends!  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


We decided to take another day to explore the area and be off campus for a bit.  When we are on campus there is always work to do taking care of the property or buildings and striving to get them all in working condition.  We are also beginning to work through some "paperwork" that needs to be taken care of.  It will all be helpful in the near future when we apply for grants and plow head first into corporate fundraising.

It was so nice to take a day yesterday and explore.  We headed over the Thompson Pass which is a beautiful drive.  At the top you cross into Idaho.  There is a restaurant at the bottom of the mountain in Idaho that is well know around here called Spragpole.  Unfortunately when we got there is was closed for the day so we will try to eat there again sometime.  The little (emphasis on little) town there is called Wallace and is partly a ghost town, having been "booming" years ago as a gold mining town.  No actual ghost as I think the boys were hoping to see, but we did see a man roaming the streets in his underwear and barefeet and the locals didn't seem to even notice.  Let me just say that Austin may be "weird" but we have seen some VERY weird things since moving out here!  We ate at another restaurant called bedroom mine which had horrible food but some very neat memorabilia and an interesting history.  In the last century, while the town was still being mined, there was a man who decided that instead of mining in the cold and snow, he would prefer to mine in the warmth of his own cabin.  He cut a hole in the floor of his bedroom and began to mine there, digging a shaft around 30 feet below and finding a good amount of gold.  You can still see the room and the mine which is located at the back of the restaurant.  We ate then headed back up the pass to hike Blossom Lake Trail.  What a beautiful hike that led to a glacier lake.  There were large boulders all around and the terrain was pretty intense with thick forest and about 1.5 miles of the hike being all uphill.  We arrived at the most beautiful glacier lake.  We couldn't spend a lot of time there since a thunderstorm was coming in, but it was worth all the effort to be so far in the back country and to see something that is so tucked away.  On the drive we also saw our first moose and her little baby that she had hidden among the weeds nearby.  We have decided to try to take a family hike once a week and find new places to explore.

(View on drive into town)

(View on drive into town)
(Saw our first moose!)

(At Blossom Lake)
(We finally got a big and much needed rain after being here for 5 weeks)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Catching Up

I have wanted to post multiple times over the last few days.  So much is happening!  We make plans and then something else comes up and intercepts our day.  Having VERY limited internet has made it difficult to post but has made it very easy to read and I have been devouring several excellent books lately.  (Hope to get a list going in the next few months sharing some of my favorites and hearing about your favorites!)

I planted a garden a few weeks ago but with limited resources we decided on a small container garden.  I don't have a green thumb, so when the plants were doing so well and producing fruit and veggies I was so shocked and excited.

We went to Sandpoint (about 1 hour and 15 minutes away) on July 4th to watch fireworks and play in the lake.  It is a beautiful town with great shops and so well landscaped.

But when we got back, a squirrel had devoured our garden!  I was so angry and sad all at the same time.  We still have some plants or at least remnants of plants and are hoping to still have some produce.  Since that night, the same squirrel has come back each night to feast on any leftovers.  I have tried everything I can think of to scare it away including cayenne pepper, peppermint spray, foil over the plants, and setting out the boys fake alligator.  (I thought that one would be a long shot since alligators aren't indigenous to this area, but it is the only pet toy they have that looks realistic!).  I am hoping to get a fake owl to see if that works and Josh suggested covering the plants with a net at night.  Any ideas?

We have been working hard around the property working mostly on mowing and remodeling our friend's cabin to make it livable.  

Lucas turned 9 on Sunday and for his birthday he requested we go on a hike.  It was so, so amazing to be hiking in the backcountry of Montana!  There were signs posted alerting hikers that this is Grizzly country and we did hike with our bear spray (didn't see any bears!).  We hiked to a secluded glacier lake and the kids had their first experience skinny dipping!  

Along the way we picked and ate huckleberries, which to me taste like a perfect mix of grapes and blueberries.  After posting tonight, I plan on researching recipes for huckleberry pies or muffins.  

One of my fears in living in the forest is forest fires.  We are having our first taste of this threat right now as they are fighting a fire in between where we live and town.  It is so extremely dry here and were are in need of rain.  
(This is a helicopter dipping its bucket into the river to fight the fire.  I'm still trying to figure out resizing photos to make them larger on here without loosing the quality!)

I miss all my Texas friends and hope you all are well!  We became official residents of Montana today turning in our TX drivers license for a Montana one.  It was bittersweet but we are constantly grateful for this opportunity!  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Settling In

It's official! We have moved to Montana! We're living in our little cabin surrounded by woods, mountains and 1.5 billion pack rats.  It's beautiful here & I already love to sit on the wrap around porch at night and listen to absolutely nothing and no one while looking at the mountains.
Most of you know we moved here to become full time volunteers with Dignata  ( Dignata.Org ) and Business for Orphans ( ).  The campus where we live has multiple buildings including dorms, a cafeteria, administration buildings and 2 residential cabins- one where we live and one our sweet friends will soon move into. We will be working on preparing the whole campus to become a training center  (major construction work ahead! ) so one day we can train volunteers who wish to work overseas for long term assignments with our organization. 
So far we are adjusting well to country life and the one lesson I am learning is to be flexible! Just when I think the cabin is in order, the plumbing goes out and I'm washing dishes in a bathroom sink of a creepy lodge or peeing in a ziplock bag in the middle of the night because there is NO WAY I'm walking back down to the creepy lodge in the dark or going out to the yard to squat when we've seen 14 snakes out there! (Guys, don't judge. I only did it once and it actually worked out just fine ).
Just when I think all is  well with the electricity, it goes out and our just bought groceries are stashed in coolers and neighbor's refrigerators.
Just when I think we have everything we need for a "planned "meal  I realize something is missing but there's no way I'm driving 1 hour round trip to go to a little store in "town " to get that item so we go to plan "B" and feast on a culinary experiment.
I'm actually loving the new lessons I'm learning. I'm loving being stretched in new ways. I'm loving the peace and quiet and time to reflect. I'm loving no TV,limited internet, time to make homemade bread,quiet dinners with family and watching the boys explore the great and vast outdoors: our new backyard. I can tell we will have lots of laughs, sweat and tears in the days ahead. Welcome to the country cabin.