Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Only In Montana

The weather gods are really messing with me lately. First of all, every time I spend hours moving the sprinkler around during the day it rains at night! What the heck????!!! What kind of a rain dance is sprinkler moving????

Second, obviously I am a terrible judge of weather. Things look great and so I am lured outdoors and far from home -- and it rains. This happened again yesterday on my dog walk -- I even checked the weather before I left and it said 30% chance of thunderstorms after 7 pm. It was 2 pm and blue skies and so I felt safe -- until I was wet and a mile from home -- sigh.

This morning I got up at my usual crack of dawn time and looked cautiously outside to see what was in store for me today. I deduced it had rained (of course since I moved sprinklers yesterday) and that was about all I could see since it was very foggy and cold. Really? Isn't this July???

It got a little light and I saw blue skies in addition to the fog, and there was basically no chance of rain (like that means anything) so I set out on my morning bike ride after feeding the girls. I want to share two things about riding one's bike in Montana that seem to speak to the uniqueness of this place.

There is a lovely bike path that runs along Highway 93 through the Bitterroot Valley; it is separated from the actual highway so very pleasant. The views are amazing -- mountain ranges on both sides and the river and so on -- a postcard. I ride one mile on the dirt road from our house to the path and off I go -- on my very own private bike path since nobody else is crazy enough to be out before the sun is even really up.

So, first of all, where else does one find horse manure routinely on the bike path?? That has to be a Montana thing -- I never saw horse manure on bike paths in Utah! But I have seen COWBOYS on the Montana bike path -- like serious cowboys with the whole horse, saddle, hat, boots -- on a bike path!!! Luckily not at 6 a.m. but at other times -- isn't that just kind of strange?? Shouldn't they be on a horse path?? And what about picking up after their horses???!!!!

And then there are the deer -- my daughter claims the roads in Montana are paved in blood and it is true that deer and cars are an unfortunate -- and too frequent -- mix around here. I worry about running into a deer (while on my bike) -- they are very pretty but kind of flighty and they do not really seem to think through their choices well -- kind of like teenagers actually. So anyway, today I almost ran over a deer LEG!!! Without the deer attached!!!!!!! Yikes -- someplace around here is a deer with just three legs :( (Note to Heidi -- NO COMMENT!!!!!!).

And finally, one more "only in Montana" story. All of you with curbside garbage service really do not appreciate it -- I know this because I was once one of you. I even complained when I had to wheel the cans 25 feet to the street -- oh the hardship of it! And curbside recycling????? Count your blessings friends -- I drive mine 28 miles -- one way!!!!

But I digress, as usual -- back to garbage. Life in secluded paradise includes a nearly .25 mile private driveway -- the garbage can is at the end of that. Wheeling the can back/forth is not an option and so the garbage must go from the house to the street can by some means, and clicking one's heels and making a wish does not work.

I usually manage to get the house garbage cans in to Trusty Rusty -- the big red truck -- and then Sydney and I drive to the can at the street. It makes me feel like a real Montana-type to drive the truck and let the dog sit on the seat next to me, and for some reason only Syd has ever gone. However, Trusty Rusty has a Higher Calling this summer and is on a mission with Heidi.

Therefore, I cleverly transport the garbage using dog power -- and I also train my dogs for brace carting -- and you know I love multi-tasking. And so I hitch up two dogs, and load the cans in the cart and tie them down with a strange and colorful assortment of leashes, bungees, and rope and off we go (praying that the cans stay in the cart!!!).

Seriously -- have you ever seen anyone take out their garbage cans using two champion Bernese Mountain Dogs and a dog cart made of hardwood shipped all the way from New England (never mind that it is slightly damaged after tumbling out of Trusty Rusty last summer)??!!!! This is definitely an only in Montana thing -- but even the Montana people look a little strangely at us so maybe it is an "only in Montana and only Mary-Ann" thing?? I guess it could be that, now that I think of it...

We are helping the Montana economy by hosting the very first Camp Berner here in just four weeks -- as Kay says, it is the #1 Berner Camp in the country (because it is the only one :). We are getting very excited about this and hope our Campers are ready to work, work, work with their dogs, dogs, dogs!!!

And I hope you are not working like a dog today but if you are, keep your eyes open for horse manure in strange places and a three legged deer.


  1. AHahaha! Welcome to MT, baby! And please, if you do ask the cowboy's do p/u their horse poop, PLEASE get it on tape! And the next time you hitch up the girls w/the garbage, there had best be a photo!

  2. I want a picture of the girls hauling trash too-those are modern working dogs!!! Nice they are earning their keep-I'm sure your rancher neighbors would appreciate that. As to the deer leg-my dogs are always finding them in the woods. I think hunters/poachers just cut them off.