Early Bird

After two snow storms before Halloween, I decided I don’t care if the whole world thinks I’m crazy. I’m pulling a page out of box store handbooks and putting up Christmas lights early. I was feeling pretty clever until today, when it occurred to me that perhaps the snow will take the lights with it as it slides off the roof.

Complaining or liberating?

The other day a friend made me question if all I do is complain about my kids.

I love them and wouldn’t change having them, I told her when she said it seems like people only talk about the crazy parts of having a family.

The truth is — having a family IS crazy.

Most days at our house look like:

And now we’re able to talk about it instead of trying to maintain a glossy, magazine-worthy presence of our mothers’ generation.

We’re learning — as a collective and individually — how to laugh at the crazy, find true joy in the mundane and find acceptance for the mess. How to honestly connect in the parenting wilderness, because it’s easy to get lost and there’s no time for vanity out here.

Sometimes that looks like complaining. Sometimes it looks like just needing to say something to realize how ridiculous it is. Sometimes it looks like a good cry. Sometimes it looks like elation. Sometimes it looks warm and fuzzy.

All of it looks like embracing how it feels.

It looks like recognizing the tough and relishing the meaningful:

And that is not complaining.

The Anticipation Season

As usual, I’m left asking where time went.

Unlike last year, the seasons lined up in order, none tripping into the next.

There was calving and skiing and spraying and seeding and more spraying and haying and we’ve been in the season when we wait and watch and hope and anticipate what the weather and other variables will make of the crops. It’s not much unlike a baby’s arrival, all the preparation and then the gigantic effort.

Every year it seems like the anticipation season grows shorter and the transition to harvest more pronounced. Or maybe it’s just that I’m more territorial of the time we get to spend as a family without doing something else and trying to rename it relaxing. Either way, I’m going to enjoy the last few days of anticipation and eagerly step into harvest, whenever it gets here.

Bloom

A few years ago I cheekily asked if we would consider planting flax because the blue flowers are so beautiful (priorities). Then I never made it out to take photos last year and thought I’d missed the blooms again this year. But much to my delight it still is flowering.

Is it camping season yet?

Mother Nature seems determined to keep us from breaking out the tent. I know, it’s a weak excuse to you four-season campers, but we’re fair weather folk and snow just doesn’t float our boats unless there’s enough to ski.

Sure is pretty, though, especially on all the green foliage.

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Opposites

Packing around two kids means that my camera has become an afterthought but I spent the morning clearing off my card. Here you go: some pictures of the prairie and the mountains.

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Spring?

Spring is officially sprung. The mud in our driveway serves as confirmation.

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Apparently, we had another notable winter. It felt mild compared to the tenacity of Winter’s enduring grip last year. Not that it couldn’t repeat itself still, but April 2, 2018, found us driving through snow drifts on the main highway.

I kept wondering when winter was going to show up in December and January — mainly because I was tired of fielding all the snarky comments from East Coast friends about how it was colder there than here.

Then February hit, and vindication that I still live in a colder state was secured.

In the past five days, temperatures have risen and snow is quickly giving way to mud.

Nonetheless, three days ago, we were walking on a frozen over Lake McDonald. (For some perspective: the lake is the largest in Glacier National Park, measuring roughly 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and 465 feet deep.)

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Take that, East Coast.

Ah, there you are, Winter.

After a string of unseasonably warm and pleasant days that almost had us tricked into thinking we imagined last Winter’s bluster, she’s back.

Took her long enough, too, considering calves have been dropping the past few days, and usually that means nasty weather.

Two to four inches of snow is the scuttlebutt.

Whatever we get we’ll take for moisture our crops will tap into in the spring. In the meantime, burr!

Not that it hasn’t been cold at night. The temperature difference between the calving barn and the air has been enough to create ice crystals on the window. The impending snow forecast spurred me to take a few pictures of it last night. Not that I won’t have plenty of opportunity throughout the winter, but watching the snow swirl outside is making me glad I didn’t procrastinate any longer!

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Slow Season

After another early snow I thought we would miss autumn altogether this year, and it left me feeling frantic. The weather was symbolic for life. Usually the fall is more easy-going, a welcome reprieve from harvest pressure. This year, though, fieldwork continued longer than usual, and I found myself in the middle of helping with some intense projects and saying yes to more projects right in the middle.

All of a sudden I was looking at weeks of not doing things that are important to me because of busy work that really has no bearing on what my priorities are these days.

So I did something unusual. I said no. I finished what I had started and backed out of what I hadn’t gotten going on yet. And then I did something even more unusual — I set a goal of no new commitments through at least the New Year.

That freed me up to do things like go on a drive about with my camera last night.

This church sits north of town and I’ve been trying to make it back to it since taking some family portraits there a few weeks ago. All the windows are gone, except for some shattered glass on the ground, but with a sunset like this one, Mother Nature made her own stained glass.

The half hour I spent there was full of beauty and inspiration and confirmation that this autumn needs to be a season of filling my cup.

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