Let them eat cake

Is this what they meant by “Little House on the Prairie”? Maybe this house is just a bit too little.


Credit where credit is due, this photo was taken by the Captain with his little Fujipix. Photography is not his number one passion so I was surprised at the sky condition and general composition he captured.

We started to wonder about the little house. It has two windows and a door, so maybe someone, like a farmhand, might have lived in it temporarily. But maybe its main purpose was something else. I’ll never know the answer.

The present owner thinks it might date to around the 1930s. He said the previous owner used to put cake in it. We were a bit confused about that until we asked more about the cake. Apparently cake is what they call the pellets that are used to supplement the cattle feed in the winter.


He said that when he was younger, raccoons used to visit this little house to eat the “cake” and then sleep in the attic. There was a small square cut out of the attic for access and it was a scary moment when the young fellow and his friends dared each other to stick their head up into the attic.

One thing I know for sure about this little house, is that the prevailing wind comes from the west.

Sandhill Cranes – Predator’s Choice

It’s getting cold up in Saskatchewan, Canada. The sandhill cranes are on the move, by the hundreds, most likely by the thousands. I saw several huge flocks of them fly south over Montana yesterday, probably on their way to New Mexico, one of several places where they may overwinter.

dscn7081Sandhill cranes, when they’re not migrating, spend most of their time on the ground, eating mostly vegetation, but Wiki says they also feed on berries, small mammals, insects, snails, reptiles, and amphibians.

They are in constant danger of being predated upon. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, cougar, and lynx are only a few of their most obvious predators but they are also in danger from ravens, hawks, owls, and eagles. It’s tough being a sandhill crane.

In the spring when they do their mating dance, they are beautiful to watch. I was lucky enough to have seen this firsthand in the Queen Charlotte Islands but at the time I had no camera with me.
dscn7088Since it is hard to see what they look like, when you can only see them silhouetted against the sky, I borrowed a picture from Wikipedia to show their colours. They are large birds with a height of from 2 ft. 7 in. to 4 ft. If you want to know their wingspan, just spread your arms as far apart as you can and you’d be pretty close.sandhill-crane

I made a very short (6 seconds) video clip as they flew over me. It’s not great footage but if you turn up the sound you can hear the distinctive call of the sandhill cranes.

Ciabatta Bread

Even in the trailer for this road trip, when I wasn’t going to be doing much “domesticating,” I ended up baking bread. At home, I bake different kinds of bread but I wasn’t prepared to do that much work while on holiday. Still, a craving for that home-baked flavour grew until it could no longer be ignored. I found an easy solution. Ciabatta bread.

The oven in the trailer is not very big and had never been used. I could see why. If the bread rose very much it would bake onto the ceiling of the oven. It was chilly in the trailer too–tolerable but not ideal for dough to rise. Since ciabatta dough doesn’t need it to be toasty warm, just barely room temperature, and I had few ingredients, I decided that it was the perfect bread to try. It didn’t rise really high as a free-form loaf in the wide pan. Turned out perfect. The hardest part was lighting the gas oven without blowing up the trailer.dscn7110

Desperation recipe for ciabatta bread:

Remember that I faked and fudged it.

4 cups white flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. fast rising yeast

2 cups warm water

Stir until it forms a wet dough. Cover and set in a “warmish” place overnight.

In the morning, butter the baking pan and flop the dough into it, roughly shaping it into a loaf. Let it sit for an hour or two. Bake at 350 or 375 for about 40 minutes or until it is golden brown.

Cut off the heel tap and give it to the Captain. Cut another slice to give to your friend in the next RV rig.

Oh, Deer, What Big Ears You Have!

Don’t bother. They’re too far away.

But the camera will bring them in.

Not worth it.

We’ll see.

dscn6735Okay, I had to admit they were too far away for good clear pictures, but the alternative was no pictures at all.

The mule deer buck in the photo below is saying to his lady friend, “Aw, come on. Don’t be like that! … All right, I’m sorry.”dscn6738“Did you hear that?”

“It’s nothing. Just an old lady with a camera.”dscn6742How many deer do you see? I see two. One normal one and another with two bums.dscn6745Here’s a pretty one, getting ready to leave.dscn6750She turns to say one last goodbye to me, flaps her mule-like ears and is gone.dscn6752

Harris’s Sparrow

Where could she be? … What in blazes is keeping her so long? dscn6806I’m sure I told her to meet me at this thorny bush next to the Russian olive trees.
dscn6808It’s darned breezy sitting up here waiting for her.dscn6811

WHO in blazes is THAT she bringing over? NOT that DANDY! Doesn’t she know he’s a real birdbrain?dscn6809

Well, what can you do? She’ll get over her little infatuation in a while. But should I hang around for her? I didn’t know she was so flighty. I suppose I’ll have to fly south without her by my side. Maybe she’ll be over him “By the time I get to Phoenix.” (Thank you, Jimmy Webb.)dscn6807a

The Root Cellar

No, this is not a hobbit’s house. About 50 years ago this small excavation in the side of a hill was used as a root cellar.dscn6798

Before the days of refrigeration, potatoes and other root crops like carrots, squashes, beets, and turnips could be stored in this underground bunker. The earth was shored up with wooden beams and possibly shelving could be put in, and then this place could function as a natural cooler for vegetables. A door  kept  larger animals out, and a pipe in the top provided an air vent so the vegetables (and the odd mouse) could breathe.dscn6799People of that era would probably have to make a trek to the root cellar before preparing the evening meal. Let’s hope they were braver than I am about encountering spiders.

Don’t Fence Me In – Or Out

“But wait. How am I supposed to get over there? Usually I just go between the strands, but this fence is different.”dscn6756a

“What if I get hung up on that barbed wire?”


“I can see where I want to be, but … your leg is in the way of me jumping.”dscn6759a

“You’re kidding me, right? Okay, I’ll wind up and jump.”


“Was that high enough? But I’m still on the same side.”


“Okay, I’m sitting down like you told me. Now what?”


“Hoo-whee! Yowser!”


“All RIGHT! Let’s find those birds.”


*PS If anyone is interested in entering a low key writing contest, please see my post of Oct, 15, 2016, on https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/writing-contest/