|Aug. 11, 2017
Can it really be almost the middle of August? And can it be that I haven't sent a blog out in almost 2 months? Suffice to say, we stay so busy that a few minutes of writing is hard to capture. Finally I said to myself, stop and write.
We blast home on Thurdays after work, say hello to the 'boys'(Hank and Skeeter) and plants and start chores. Most are the mundane - bills, laundry, meals. But last week a new chore popped up. We had heard from neighbors that a rattle snake was frequenting the road by the barn. Fortunately, that critter was eliminated by a neighbor pack'in heat on his routine walk. Later that day, Jeffrey took out 2 more which I found when spraying for weeds. It's the wild west.
So, weeds are a major issue for ranching communities especially noxious weeds that take over grasslands, yards, gardens. The big nasty one is knapweed. Everyone has it, and most people spend lots of time and energy trying to control it. The ranchers may use planes to spray, 4-wheelers, backpacks or huge hoses. Little 'ol usens use hand held sprayers or BUGS. That's right...there is a bug that will eat the flower heads of the knapweed and we have joined the fight biologically. Several weeks ago the Madison Valley Bio-Control Project came to our property with 5 large coffee cup containers of these black and white bugs. They had identified the 'plots' for release...and off they went. This is a slower process than spraying the weeds, but we hope it will help with our battle. Last weekend there was a huge fund raiser for the Madison Valley Ranchers Weed group. We attended of course and enjoyed a great meal, a silent auction and a live auction. They are serious about weeds out here!!
Is everyone ready for the eclipse? YNP will not be in the totality zone (98%), but it's all hands on deck. Tetons will be in the totality zone and they are predicting the single largest day of visitation in history. Our duties have shifted to focus on traffic, ie.grid-lock. We've been told to forget cell coverage, which is spotty in the park anyway. Get gasoline early as local communities will run out. You all in the path have heard these things...but you don't have bison! It's the rut season and the bison are ramped up anyway. What will an eclipse do to them?? Just a flake of snow sends them on their migration out of the park. It will be interesting to see if they even notice considering what's formost on the minds of the bulls.
About 3 weeks ago I was scheduled for a 2 nite/3 day trip into the backcountry to stay at a patrol cabin about 11 miles into the Gallatin Mtns. My neighbor, Patty, was able to go and pack her 13 y/o donkey named Wasabi. So nice not to carry a heavy pack. Off we went, but about 6 miles into the hike we were in an old burn area. Recent thunderstorms and high winds littered the trail with downfall. End of journey...we couldn't get little Wasabi over all the dead and down trees. Two days later the trail crew reported they re-cleared that stretch of trail, cutting up 47 trees. No wonder we were having trouble. Sunday we plan to try again, taking another trail to the patrol cabin. Wish us luck. When you can pack in on a hike, you get to take things like a coffee press, fresh greens and cold adult beverages. Oh, I forgot to mention there is work that will be done on the trails and at the cabin. :)
We had a nice visit from the Seissens, friends of 40 yrs, who now reside in VT. Small world, but daughter's boyfriend came to Ennis to run his first marathon the same wkend. We topped off the visit with an evening fundraiser at a one room school house. BBQ dinner, music and cowboy poetry. Now that's a Montana night. It was really fun. Never knew cowboy poetry could be so entertaining. (google Baxter Black for more.)
Don't forget your eclipse glasses. And do look, such a celestial affair won't happen for another 375 years.
Our best, Mary Ann and Jeffrey