Saturday, August 29, 2009

Charismatic Mega-fauna

Upon summiting Sacajawea peak in the Bridger mountains we were met by a heard of mountain goats.

Mountain goats!!!

I continue to be amazed by Montana and it's plethora of Big Game.


On Sunday, while on a walk, Nic spotted a pronghorn antelope skull on the side of the road, in a free box. The skull is slated to join the deer antlers on the wall of our apartment.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Morning.

I woke up this morning without an alarm and unusually early for a Sunday. I rolled out of bed and went to find some coffee. Bozeman felt even sleepier than I did at 8am as I rolled through town in search of some coffee beans. I came on back home and put the water on and began mixing eggs, milk and vanilla together for french toast.

It had been decided the previous day that french toast is what would be done with the loaf of bread that we had picked up from Mezzo Matto Italian Bakery. When I was a house guest before I had an apartment of my own, I asked my hosts about places and things that locals know about and that can take new residents months to find out on their own. They told me about a family that had relocated (both their family and business) to Bozeman from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We had stopped by last week but the unassuming store front has a sign on it that said 'Gone Camping, be back Tuesday.' So we came back the following week and were not disappointed with the atmosphere, the propietiers, the blueberry and cream cheese pastries, or the beignets. We also took home a loaf of bread that Nic said would make great french toast. And so it was.

The breakfast came together beautifully. Fresh baked sicilian bread coated with a custard made from farm-fresh eggs and served with homemade maple syrup from Nic's sister's farm in Michigan. This is hands down the best maple syrup I have ever had. I have promised to knit her a hat in exchange for syrup, which is such a deal.

Plans for the day will include letter writing, some knitting and maybe a nap, a pretty ideal Sunday. So far it's off to a good start.

week + end

A few highlights from this past week, and a few from this weekend.

here's one of Montana's many mountains. The Gallatin National Forest is only 15 minutes from town- a proximity that amazes me.

Here's a picnic lunch from yesterday. I was too pleased with myself when I figured out that I could put two sandwiches and two ciders in one convenient 6-pack. I highly recommend it for a picnic on the go.

The Suby is sporting Montana plates now. Montana has about 100 different plates that you can choose from, which seems slightly excessive. I chose the standard plates. I think they are classy.

A tomato, sausage, pesto pizza from earlier this week. Since I'm spoiled and live close enough to go home for lunch every day I mixed up some dough at lunch and it was ready to go by the time I got home.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Here's me taking a break from knitting. This means that I've got a sewing area set up (!!). And That means I can leave my area as-is (messy) and not have to clean up to eat dinner at the dinner table. I think this will also lead to more creativity.

I bought some heat-resistant fabric a while ago for the purpose of making an oven mitt- but the notion of potholders struck me yesterday, and I just had to oblige- that was after I made some curtains for the kitchen and bedroom.

The other great thing about these potholders was that I used mostly scraps from other projects. Potholders are small and functional which makes for a nice combination of utility and creativity. I made a pattern out of a box that was originally used for 6 bottles of hard cider- one square for the main section and one triangle for little hand pockets that you can use to manipulate the potholder as a glove-of-sorts... or a puppet.

I need to go dig around my scrap-bag to see what other treasures I can find.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Montana Fair: It's a Really big deal

The Montana Fair is not the State fair, it is the Billings Fair and, and the official subtitle of Montana Fair really is 'It's a Really Big Deal.' I suppose that makes sense, since Billings is the largest city in Montana. The subtitle was the recurring joke as we all drove through the parking lot as we watched the 4-H kids show their bunnies, as we browsed the craft and exhibition halls, as we walked the midway and as we ate deliciously fried food.

As much as we made fun of it though, I think the far was and is a really big deal. It's where people can drop a lot of money on moderately satisfying rides, they can show their pets and/or their livestock.

The fair is also a place where people can showcase their collections- pen and pencils, medieval garb, Simpsons para-fan-alia, miniature horses and the biggest nutcracker collection you've ever seen. It's a place where people who spend a lot of time and energy on sometimes very specific endeavors have a specific showcase for their hobbies.

It's also a place where I could size up the competition for Table Setting- see image below.

This table setting received a blue ribbon in the age category I will be competing in next year. I give this setting props for setting the table for an afternoon tea, as opposed to a dinner setting. They also sort-of get points for making the tea a 'Russian Tea' and so printing the menu in Russian- which is also unfair, because I can't read Russian, and therefore have no idea if the menu would be at all appetizing. Other than that, I was entirely unimpressed with the white china and too simple centerpiece. Classy? Sure. Was I impressed? No.

As table setting entries are all put on a card table, there was not enough room to showcase all entries in the venue provided. As such, I must make assumptions like: the Russian Tea setting was actually the best in the age category. I am already planning for next year. Without giving too much away, I'm thinking 'hunting lodge' (Montanans love Big Game as much as I do).

In the same venue where I critiqued my competition for table setting, I found my socks that I had entered- adorned with a red ribbon! Second place! and a $3 prize! Second place in the 'Hand knit sock' category! I am so flattered, especially since this is my first (finished) pair of socks. I felt really great about that.

So we celebrated with funnel cakes- batter poured directly into a vat of hot oil and dusted liberally with powdered sugar and cinnamon and more sugar.

I love the fair.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kathleen's Salad

I'm almost to the point where I can resume my previous kitchen habits. It's been over a month now since I've cooked consistently. Between house-sitting, moving, painting, acquiring furniture, working and acquainting oneself to a new community, other personal endeavors can, and have suffered. We DO have a couch now, and I did hang some art on the walls on Friday- which made it feel just that much more like home.

I'm in the middle of painting walls at the moment. Whoever has the job of naming paint colors has my dream job. Our apartment will now include walls that are a nice shade of 'harmonic tan' and 'crocodile'. Here's a view of the front door (which is actually at the back of the house... leading down to the basement).
I did take a few minutes to wash as much paint off of my hands as possible to compose a salad that I credit to my dear friend Kathleen- who is currently quarantined in her house with a case of the Mumps. I was jonesin' for a refreshing summer salad. Last week we composed a tasty black bean, avocado, tomato, corn, cilantro and lime salad. Tonight's salad trumps last weeks in the crisp and refreshing categories. It was served with two-day old pizza.

Kathleen's Salad
1/2 jicama- cut into matchsticks
1/2 mini watermelon- cubed
handful of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno- finely diced
lime juice- to taste.

Throw all ingredients into a bowl. Make sure to wash hands thoroughly after dicing jalapeno. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.