Ted’s essays

ice dancing

Occasionally the winter snowfalls conspire to make walking around our yard treacherous. My wife responds by putting ice cleats on a pair of snow boots and switching to them to walk on ice and from them to climb into her van, enter her destination or go back into the house. I walk very carefully. For the most part, her plan is a lot smarter than mine. Old brittle bones break easier than what we grew up with and heal a lot slower. Being a gambling man is not very clever. On the other hand, I am also a solution man. Here is the harrowing solution. On a sunny afternoon with temperatures well above freezing, I connected a “blanket harrow” […]

pictures from our cold snap

I suppose if you grew up in Wisconsin, Michigan or North Dakota, this wouldn’t be all that impressive. But I grew up in coastal northern California and haven’t lived anyplace that touched yesterday’s minus 41 low, let alone today’s minus 28/29. Dang, that bites… Literally… chews on, stings whatever skin you offer up to it. Storm doors, double-pane windows … yeah, they all grow frost coats. My foresight to install wood heat and stock up on both free kindling and moderately affordable local forest BTUs is looking rather clever today… wait until the electricity shuts off for a bit. Wow! Genius!!! We took yesterday off from wood heat. It was just too darn cold to go across the yard […]

Sundews

Thanks to California Carnivores from my old neighborhood, I picked up a variety of insect eating plants. Expecting to enjoy their beauties and appreciate the insect population reduction for one summer, I have been pleasantly surprised to get several years from them. This particular bog that lives next to a south facing window in my studio is far exceeding expectations, surviving, growing and even reproducing well. Another bog garden is in its dormant stage now, but will likely be a fine pitcher plant in our laundry room again next spring. A third did not come back last year and will likely need to be refreshed with new purchases next spring. Sundews (Drosera) If an insect ever evolved the brains […]

mushroom giants

Amazing nature delivered these big boys to my yard this week. This impressive pair quite literally just popped up in the last couple of days. In the adult education class I took on mushroom cultivation, I learned that the above-ground part we see, and think of as being the mushroom is actually the reproductive part of a very much larger organism living underneath it. As I began this post I realized there was no perspective, so I added a tennis ball and re-took the photo of the pair. I have never seen any remotely close to this large, in fact none even as big as the ball in all these years. I am taking chances by sharing this. Some […]

Exploring The Bitterroot: Skalkaho Falls

It is officially Bitterroot motorcycle riding season. Tourist bikes have been exploring up and down The Bitterroot River on Highway 93 for most of a month now. A skosh tardy in getting my bikes where I wanted them for this season, I started a little behind the early bikers, but not too much. Right at the top of my 2023 bike ride bucket list was a reconnoiter of Highway 38 between Grantsdale and Phillipsburg, Montana. It is right in my neighborhood, lightly traveled and reputed to be quite scenic. I was also warned repeatedly by people who have been there, done that, to explore it on my more maneuverable, agile Dr Zee (350 pounds) rather than jumping right in […]

cold snap

Now THAT’s COLD. At Sunrise (8:17), I threw on a wool coat, insulated gloves and boots for a one-minute outdoor job of opening the chicken door so my flock could get out to their heated water reservoir and food supply. Whoops. My young back-saving helper yesterday did not close the double gate into / out of the chicken yard after blowing a foot of snow off their scratching yard. So I did that while I was out there – to keep them in and predators out. By the time I was back inside, my legs were cold through their double layers, my back was cold through its triple layers and my cheeks were genuinely frosty in the non-bearded areas. (Interesting […]

mini autumn in The Bitterroot

While we do not have the gorgeous autumns as those who live in hardwood forests do, it is still worth noting the passing from summer to winter. In this part of Montana, autumn is very, very short. I quip that it is about two weeks from the start of the leaves changing colors to the leafless branches of winter. In the past I have noticed picturesque coloring, thought “I ought to take a picture of that”, and finally remembered to have my camera along after the show was over. I am promising myself I won’t count on weeks of this show. Grab the photos NOW. Here are my neighborhood shots from today. […]

touring the neighborhood

I did not have much of a choice. I was left home alone. I had to practice more with my new-to-me motorcycle. The weather was gorgeous. My neighborhood is perfect. (People come here from all over the world to drink from the fountain of natural beauty in Montana’s Bitterroot) I know of several lightly-traveled, low-speed roads that are just right for a bike that likes to cruise in the 40-50 mile-per-hour range and a returning motorcycle pilot that is right there in his comfort zone. I have to reconnect those biker synapses muscle memories in my crusty old brain. The top right photo looks at the Bitterroot Mountain Range from its foothills. Next on the right is The Bitterroot […]

new Big Dog in the hood

Our big excitement for the day, and the week was a moose sighting right in our own front yard. We have not seen one in years, let alone one in our area. Magnificent animal.

wasp nest VS Mossberg

I have no love for meat bees. They invariably figure out that I am meat. I can share my spaces with honey bees of all stripes and persuasions. If I don’t attack them, they don’t attack me. That is the essence of Libertarian relationships. I have employed various tools to minimize the meat bee populations in my area of operation, including baited traps and hired killers. With the leaves gone from our local trees the very large hornet population around here was explained by a mongo nest high in a tree above the corner of our house. The above photo is after application of birdshot and buckshot which I am confident will minimize the population next spring and summer. I […]

finding the calm in the storm

So much of what I see, read, hear, fight against … so much of my world and what I share here is about the evil forces and their assault on everything we appreciate about our world. Once in a while a supremely positive note comes my way. I need those. You probably do as well. As I read the mantra below I was inspired to do as it instructed. But where? Where in my current world is the right place to connect with my spirituality, nature, the cosmos …? Recalling when I was most at peace and in harmony with the natural world took me to the Pacific Coast. Walking, jogging, laying and playing on the sandy beaches with […]

appreciating pretty flowers

My choices are a little limited because our growing season is so short, but there are plenty of pretty flowers decorating our yard. I don’t pay much attention to what they are officially called. I simply appreciate them for who they are. I’m sure you can guess why I call this first one “hippo”. Most of my other names for them are just as made up and equally irreverent. […]