We’ve been getting our Missoula Spring on the last couple of weeks. Usually there is a sucker-Spring, which is essentially what this has been, but it has been going on (and off and back on) for much longer and starting from much earlier than I’ve ever experienced in my years in the 5 Valleys Basin. We’ve had sun and 50-degree weather on random days, the grass is already re-greening, the robins have been spotted, and the gardens are getting loved. We’ve also had multiple snow-covered mornings, freezing nights, ice-wind dog walks, and pelting rain-hail combo-deals. Today on our walk, we saw the first spring flowers — the humble but courageous Crocus — yesterday, the same patches of lawn were buried in white until mid-morning.
Here’s a photo-list of fun we’ve been having both as a result of getting to go outside more, and not.
Natalie went to teach a class on making mobiles the other night, at our favorite local kid stuff store, and Echo, Xi, and I played and made dinner together. Coco had been feeling a little under-the-weatherish, so this is how she was helping with dinner. She also had to fend-off my braid… Xideka cubed and fried the tofu, while I cut and stir-fried the veggies. Both girls love tofu and stir-fry with rice — it’s one of their favorite meals — but they liked it more than ever on this night. Admittedly, I love the irony of this adoration for “Papa’s famous stir-fry”. My girls absolutely die for this meal that my step-dad taught me the basics of making, and I, at first, loathed it. He introduced his version to me as he was courting, or shortly after he married, my mom. I was used to eating McDonald’s, and Hardees, and Kraft, and Hormel, and Tyson’s — you know, real food. And here comes this guy with not only these weird vegetable things, but he’s just going to chop ’em up, toss ’em around in his weird bowl-shaped fry-pan, throw in some ginger and garlic and “tarragon” (which I was sure was code for something elicit), and then sprinkle some fermented soy sauce on it, add a side of “brown” rice, and tell me it’s a meal?! I hated it. Now I not only make it to totally stoke all three of my daughters, I also make it as a special treat for my parents whenever we’re all together.
One weekend we went for a hike up the mountain-sized hill at the end of a nearby street. The hill is called Mt. Sentinel, lines the back of the University of Montana property, is public-owned open space, and has a huge concrete-and-white-wash ‘M’ about half-way up the Western slope. We decided to do the ascent, with our fearless hike-dog Henry (stealthing in the lower left corner, above), and then continue on to a nearby glory-hole that was dug in the side of the hill — presumably by prospectors — at some point in history, and then left open. The cave-like hole is another 20 minutes above the ‘M’, and descends straight into the belly of the mountain like a crude escalator. The girls were captivated, mystified, and totally nerve-wracked. We climbed in with a headlamp and proceeded to the bottom, about 75 feet in, but still almost totally illuminated by sunlight. We came back out, had snacks, ran around, checked out the view a bit, and then headed back down.
And here is some of what we could see down below. The oval in the bottom right is the main concourse of the university campus. And, though, I didn’t take the time to draw an arrow (Perez Hilton would be so disappointed in my blogging skills), our house, Gus, is right in the very middle of the frame. You can see it, can’t you?
And here’s the girls looking at said view. To me, the perspective on this one makes the back-ground look CG’d-in behind the girls. “We actually shot this with a green screen…”. That is Water Works Hill — another favorite local family hike spot — directly between Xi and Echo’s heads.
And then there’s this — which I feel compelled to add just because…
That’s what it looks like from here at the moment.
Hope you’re enjoying your view of life as you get your Spring On! Happy Equinox, and first day of the Persian New Year.