Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Mother’s Day Tour

Long on my ‘should do’ agenda was to take the old road from Darby to Hamilton. The ONLY route before the “new” highway 93 replaced it… with a primary north-south artery that at several points is lower than the 100-year flood plane. I wanted to familiarize us with the alternate route if that 100-year-flood ever happened our way. Better still, it was a calm, beautiful trip. See for yourself. Oh, but if you are considering relocating from any USofA socialist population center, be warned that the winters here are brutally cold, snow shoveling is overwhelming, the growing season is too short for radishes, throughout the summers forest fires take out most of the homes, make the air completely unbreathable for […]

planting moon

The moon over Montana will be full on Thursday, March 7th. Bob Cannard, my organic gardening mentor encouraged us to plant on every full moon. He did not touch on whether or not he believed it cosmically favored the plants themselves. His expressed reasoning was that it organized us to do regular plantings whether that was seeds, starts, bare-root, or transplants. Get something started every full moon and you will always have a good garden. From long before there were computers, televisions and electric lights, people on nature-driven cycles have called the first full moon of May, “The Planting Moon”. Whereas in some environments planting and growing year-round is possible, here our growing season is short, but its days […]

dam story

We live on a year-round creek, but upstream of us are people who may lawfully divert as much of the water as they wish… OR let any fraction of the natural flow roll through our yard. It is one thing to accommodate what nature sends our way. It is another thing entirely to be at the downstream end of humans with unknown (likely tenuous) attachments to nature. Last year I had extended access to a backhoe. Among the projects I knocked out was to build a backwater so Beagle Brain (our beagle/lab cross) could no longer sneak out of the vulnerable spot where the containment fence crosses the creek. I even built a fish ladder in case jumping into […]

honeydew

I enjoy my carnivorous plants a heckuva lot more than flypaper, to understate more than a little. The wonderful folks at California Carnivores provide insect control for me year after year. My honeydew from a couple years ago is still among the living – and presumably happy campers in my home. Officially known as drosera capensis, my honeydew is highly photogenic and wonderful for keeping little flying insects in check. Peter D’Amato, founder and principle at California Carnivores told me the little dewdrops at the end of the leaf hairs are ounce-for-ounce the stickiest substance known to man. Once an insect lands on one of these leaves it’s stuck. The leaf then curls up around, and digests the insect parts […]

Montana spring wheelbarrow

Mid-April has given us a number of beautiful warm days that we celebrated with yard puttering. The wheelbarrow left behind from a clean-up project stands as a testament to the variegates Montana can send our way. Four inches of snow on the heels of a Tee-shirt weather week.

pink super moon shot

At 0400 hours (4:00 AM) this morning Scooter (aka: Beagle Brain, BLAB – Beagle Lab cross) bugged me to let her go outside. Experience has taught me to honor those requests. I saw this big, fat moon and remembered this was the night of this year’s largest super moon. So I shot it. I fetched my trusty Canon SX740HS camera with image stabilization and 40x zoom to take a couple of moon shots. It is pretty hard to hold a steady sight picture with a palm-sized camera, on an object 224,865 miles away, moving at a speed of 2,288 miles per hour, during the day. Harder still in the middle of the night when I would just as soon […]

Spring full moon

My organic gardening mentor encouraged us to plant on every full moon. Not so much that it favored the plants themselves, but because it organized us to do regular plantings whether that was seeds, bare-root, or transplants. Get something started every full moon and you will always have a good garden. In Montana that assumes you have a greenhouse. We simply have too much winter cold to allow year-round outdoor plantings. What a blessed place I grew up in where we could. Lovely Nature was unfortunately taken over by lazy minds. Today, March 9th is a full moon. That is my trigger to consider planting something. Other signals from nature: The little budgies have returned to our neighborhood. The glaciers […]

snow season snapshot

I start here with the pretty stuff. This twelve-second video clip is the view out my studio window when the fat, fluffy flakes fly. Regardless of the work it brings to keep the walkways and driveways clear for safe travel, this classic snow falling look is calm and peaceful to watch from a nicely heated home. Next up is a movie of the work portion this recent storm brought me. On prior occasions I was under-dressed for blowing snow. I geared up with mask, goggles, super mittens and, well, I was quickly overheated and had to shed some of what you see in this video. snow blowing from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo. When we took on this new homestead […]

Darby Adult Ed calendar is up

I have contributed numerous classes to the community, most through the Darby Adult Education program in southwestern Montana. An interesting array of people share their skills and passions with others in this nice little community. This Spring Semester is no exception. We have many nice choices in front of us for new experiences, knowledge, training, friendships and fun. I am bringing my first-level Amateur Radio class back by popular demand. I must be nearing 50 people I have helped earn their FCC Technician or General Class licenses. My guarantee: If you attend every class and study a few hours a week, you will pass the FCC Technician Exam at the end regardless of your technical background or lack thereof. I […]

dog stress management techniques

I have been ‘a dog guy’ my entire life. They and I understand each other. Some call it “Being able to speak Dog”. As with human-to-human interaction that actually means more listening than speaking. Thus, when the article below arrived in my e-mail, I recognize its truths. Dogs fully live in the moment without fretting over past or future. Most excell at relaxation, but apply extreme vigor to their exercise periods. This applies far more to confident dogs, who are usually larger than average. Those are the ones I am attracted to. Among the top dogs in my history for that was Opie, my 125-pound Newfoundland runt who is responsible for my interest in Mastiff relatives. Beagle Brain, our […]

GOES 17 – understanding the satellite’s viewpoint

This view of the Earth is so informative that I keep it programmed in Firefox as my Home Page. Unless I’m rushing off somewhere specific, I get this image of our area from a cosmic perch every time I fire up my Internet browser. In my video below I go over some of the finer points of what can be learned by looking down at our segment of Earth from The Heavens. Obviously we can see moisture and major storm activity, but thoughtful study reveals so much more. For decades they denied this activity. Recently the geoengineers discontinued their denials and began bragging about it. What they admit to or brag about has little impact on those who choose to […]

dam + ladder

Beagle Brain, aka: Scooter, our Beagle/Lab cross, the BLAB, inherited the beagle willingness to follow her nose wherever it leads, whenever she can. Our containment fence was not up to the task. She would challenge it. I would fix it. Rinse and Repeat. FINALLY I shut her exit down while the rented backhoe was available with a dam and its backwater flooding where the fence crossed the creek. Yay! Success! BUT The tiny dam I rebuild every spring to enable my irrigation to draw from what little bit the upstream irrigators leave in Bunkhouse Creek posed no barrier to the little trout living in the year-round stream. My Scooter dam and culvert, however, did make a barrier… One I was […]