Ted’s essays

Happy 12th Anniversary

To my sexy, lovely, adorable, darling Missy . Who has been the brightest spot in the best 12 years of my life.

what’s this stuff?

I don’t get it. It’s not dry, but it’s not snow. What’s going on here? I checked my calendar. It is December 23rd… winter. I checked my location. I’m in Montana… north. Missy drug me out to pass Christmas cookie plates around to the neighbors. We didn’t wear parkas, we wore slickers. What’s going on here? I will admit that the rain on top of ice is plenty slick. That sensation of absolutely no traction underfoot is definitely not Coastal Northern California.

Sugar Plum Fairy

Every once in a while I am stunned by innovation, beauty and talent. Watch a few seconds of this… you will likely watch the full two and a half minutes … unless you are a barbarian. It is a great song (Sugar Plum Fairy) played on crystal goblets by a talented, focused musical team.

Happy Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice happened mid-day today. It is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The North Pole is leaning as far towards the sun as it will until this time next year. It is also considered officially as the first day of winter. Even though the days will now start getting longer, the cooling of the northern surface has just begun. Take a look at sunrise and sunset for the next few days. Note where they strike your house, where they shine in the windows, what areas of your yard get the most southern warming exposure. From now to June, those points will gradually move north before the Summer Solstice marks the next turnaround. As long […]

nuther day in paradise

The Conner Honeymooners’ Cabin Overnight snowfall turns our front yard into a post card. The view looking across the Bitterroot’s East Fork from our front window. Just call me “Lucky”.

not a cold

Colds are common this time of the year. Heck, they are even called “The common cold”. The good news is that my wife doesn’t get colds. The bad news is she gets “sinus infections”. They act like colds. Sound like colds. But they are somehow different. Her sly-dog husband deviously gets her to take foods and supplements for her sinus infections that coincidentally are beneficial to people suffering from colds. Somehow they seem to help. Go figure.

special gift

. Here is a unique . gift idea: . A Website like this. . Mom, dad, grandma… . can have their very own web page. . The whole family could share one. . Your_Name_Here.com – could be a place where privately or publicly you can share photos, notes, tales and conversations on the Internet. . You can share a unique, modern, ultimate, high-tech family photo album, scrapbook or private e-mail network. . I can make it easy for you with domain search, setup, privacy options and teaching everyone involved how to make it work easily and reliably. . A website Your_Name.com includes almost limitless e-mail addresses like Sally@your_name.com, Grandma@your_name.com, UncleJoe@your_name.com Thumper@your_name.com and so on. . Tell me what you […]

lettuce lessons

With the recent cold snap, my Bitterroot winter garden experiment quickly entered Phase III. On October 14th, we filled planter boxes that were here before us with soil and seed. Then added water and wait. The plant seeds came from Territorial Seed, who has significant expertise in year-round gardening. They recommended some pak choi and three varieties of winter-hearty lettuce. I was not overly optimistic, as almost nobody around here tries outdoor winter gardening. However, I am not one for giving up before I start, so off we go. Well, old man winter approacheth and these tough guys were telling me how unhappy that was making them. I added a little stick and painter-drop-cloth cold frame that theoretically held a […]

global warming on the Bitterroot

Two weeks prior to the winter solstice . . . the date that traditionally marks the beginning of winter. Here we enjoy observing as the East Fork of the Bitterroot River ices up and freezes over. After a week with the temperature swinging from ten to ten, that is minus to plus, we are getting close to being able to walk on water. Don’t worry, I’m not heading out onto thin ice here – Been There, Done That … some ignorant USAF GIs and local girls had no idea how dangerous our playing on that frozen Utah pond was. Sadly, my cheap old digital camera doesn’t capture the colors well. The aquamarine blue-green of the river as it runs across […]


I can’t say I like the implications, but they bear no news for me even if my worst suspicions are correct. The folks who host my websites and e-mail collect statistics on usage. I check them at least once a month and track them to help me keep things in perspective. For example, my four websites had a total of 8,679 visits in November with 30,432 pages downloaded from them (minus the anomalies below). Of those visits, a lot of them are 30 seconds or less, most likely search engines taking snapshots of my sites so they can be included in results when people ask for information. Visits of 5 minutes or more are also tallied and more meaningful to […]

way cool

As usual, I looked at the outdoor thermometer this morning. – 4 Wow. 4. That is pretty cold. Huh. what’s that little mark in the corner there? A minus sign. OH. Really cold. That made me reflect on yesterday evening as I drove home through ‘The City’ (Hamilton, Montana, population 4,350). Electronic signs proclaim 4 or 5 degrees (+) at 5:00 PM. I’m wearing tights under my jeans, long-sleeve tee under my sweater with a heavy jacket, wool driving cap and lined driving gloves. The car heater is on full (but the tiny Honda CRX engine generates precious little heat – the ice on the inside of the back window never did defrost even after a couple hours of running […]

salad warmers

My Montana winter salad experiment continues its evolution… As I explained November 10th in my article winter salad, I put some bok choi and three types of lettuce seeds into four planter boxes to see what might come of it. Being able to have fresh greens through the winter would be nice. Missy has begun her winter sprouts operation. That’s a much more reliable way of reaching that primary objective. When the temperatures hit the low teens they cried out for help. “That thin plastic bedsheet is not enough”, they wailed. I ran a rough calculation finding that a 60-watt bulb would run me $1.49 a month if used half the time to keep them warm overnight. So I put […]