wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


29 Comments

A Cool Trip – Part 4

The snow kept coming sideways and we talked about cutting our day’s drive short. We had planned to go as far as Fort Benton where a friendly RV park always awaited us, but Fort Benton was down a big hill along the banks of the Missouri, and we had seen pictures of how the town had fared in the September snowfall a week earlier. Did we want to be trapped in this valley town with snow covering the steep roads in and out of town? For that matter, could we even make it that far if we wanted to?

We had to get off the road or end up in a lonely prairie ditch. But where to go in Great Falls?

I remembered a Wal-Mart across from the town’s famous smelter and refinery, and that’s where we pulled in.

Wal-Mart Customer Service told us we were welcome to stay for three days. They had all the groceries we might need, a water supply, and a relatively safe place for us to stay. Three other rigs were already parked there and would remain there until after we left.

Wal-Mart even had Wi-Fi but it didn’t reach out to the parking lot.

Generally I prefer to be in an RV park or a place like Exit 16’s park, since public parking lots can be a bit risky if you’re camping overnight alone, but we had no choice by this time and were thankful for the relatively safe haven as the snow began to cover us up.

It would have been foolish to continue traveling, as the many accidents that day proved.

However, we were quite frozen in this place with -17degrees Celcius, feels like -23 (1 degree Fahrenheit, feels like -9F). In the morning, the windows had about a quarter of an inch of frost on them (on the INSIDE!), and the holding tank was frozen at the outlet, as we found out when we tried the next sani-dump we came to. We also tried to add water to our potable water tank – to no avail. The pipes leading to the tank were frozen.

We had a furnace, but running it all night might run our battery down and as luck would have it, the trailer battery was very low in the morning. The Captain ran the Honda generator and brought it back up. Everything was a struggle, and we were getting worn down.

The second night, some drug-crazed kids did a kick boxing display near our rig on the parking lot (yes, in that very cold temperature)! The driver even kicked the lid of his own car’s trunk. (The Captain said, IF it’s even their own car.) Then they tore out of the parking lot at 90 miles an hour.

After two nights there, if we continued north and then east as we had planned, we would be driving into more blizzard and heavy fog in extremely cold temperatures. We were only one long day’s drive from our destination, but there didn’t seem to be any point in going on, even if we could have done that safely. But could we safely go back?

 


26 Comments

A Cool Trip – Part 3

From Exit 16, it’s not far to Missoula, one of our usual stops, but we pushed on this time and took a lunch break at Drummond, a bit farther east. Drummond is a tiny, tiny, tiny town, but it has a lovely community park, just past the sheep in this field.

While I made our lunch, the Captain let the dogs stretch their legs. They’d been very good about riding in their straw-filled crates in the back of the truck, but they were ready for a romp. Emma’s flying ears tell the story.

Then on we went, on our way. We took the shortcut to Helena by crossing on Highway 12 at Garrison. This meant going over MacDonald Pass at 6312 ft. It is on the Continental Divide, and that makes it seem special to me.

Going through Helena was uneventful, now that we have discovered the easiest route through it, turning onto Highway 15 North.

We tootled on happily until I said, “Oh, look at that fog up ahead.”

“Sure is thick, and we’re driving right into it.”

And then there were those dreaded orange and white barrels, forcing traffic into one lane for construction work that wasn’t even happening.

“That’s not just fog.” The Captain stated the obvious. We were heading into a blizzard.

See all the white stuff?

At one point, the orange and white barrels seemed to indicate that we should go into the right lane, and moments later we realized that we had exited I-15 and were on a little by-road with no place to turn back to re-enter the highway.

Being a little lower down, the visibility was better, but the winding road was narrow, and traffic was two-way. Not so much fun for a truck pulling a trailer. (You can see the highway above us to the left. So close and yet so far away.)

We came to a sign that said we had 8 miles to go to Wolf Creek, where we could rejoin the highway.

Oh joy! We were back on the main drag at last. With every mile, the air got whiter, and so did the fields, and the trees, and the road.

At this point we were feeling a bit of anxiety creeping in.


48 Comments

Multi-tasking

I knew I had to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen today so I thought I might as well do two jobs at once. I put some bread dough ingredients in the bread machine, and when the mixing and rising was done, I put the dough into two loaf tins to rise again in a slightly warmed oven.

Then I got busy with these chanterelles the Captain and I had picked the day before.

One of them had grown like a bouquet of flowers.

Another was simply a giant single, so big a piece broke off when we handled it.

I washed the mushrooms in a tub of water, using the spray hose at the sink. Most of the needles and bits of dirt came off easily with the sprayer and I put the chanterelles into a bowl.

As I cut them up, I gave them another check to remove any last bits of forest that had come home with them.

Then I dumped the cut up mushrooms into the frying pan and sauteed them (basically cooking them for a few minutes to get most of the excess moisture out). I did many, many bowlfuls of mushrooms, cutting and cleaning while the previous batch simmered.

I put the cooked mushrooms into a stainless steel bowl and left them to cool before putting them into ziplocs to freeze in small batches.  They’re a great addition to curries, gravy, stir fries, and any number of other dishes.

When the bread dough had risen in the pans, I turned on the oven, and by the time all the mushroom work was done, I was rewarded with two freshly baked loaves of bread.

 


42 Comments

Slipping into the Fall

With this title I began to wonder if I should have a picture of a pair of crutches, but it’s not that kind of fall. Now that the equinox has passed, there’s no denying that autumn is here.

Just look at the last of the Wilmuta winter apples.

The last of the walnuts, husks drying on the tree.

And, so sadly, my zinnias, gone to seed.

Emma saw them and was sad too. Only a few mums and rudbeckias left.

But out in the yard, the roses are making a last ditch effort to bloom. This one is called Freedom.

This red one is Europeana.

It’s time for the fall crocuses to do their thing. They’re funny ducks, sporting only leaves in the spring and only flowers in the fall. Anything to be different!

But most depressing are the holly berries, reminding me that deep winter is coming and with it the “C” word.

Beautiful as autumn is,

To me it’s always sad,

It marks the end of summertime,

And all the fun we had.

My attitude I must adjust,

And treasure golden days,

For autumn also brings us joy, 

In, oh, so many ways.

 

*Please visit my webpage. http://www.anneli-purchase.com


30 Comments

A Flicker of Light

Sitting in the dark in my living room at about 6:30 this morning, I was surprised by the contrasting colour of the two levels of clouds — one layer of light gray and one of very dark gray. It gave me the shivers to think of the wind and rain that were coming our way.

I was not disappointed. It blew and dumped rain on us. Once the moisture had been thrown into our faces, the clouds lifted (that’s not the same as going away) and the sky brightened up.

The flicker looked up from his perch in the black walnut tree and called to his buddy who had just flown away, “What do you think, Dear? Is this it for today, or is there more coming? Should we find a more sheltered tree to peck on?”

 

Flicker eyes the roiling sky

Shakes himself and gives a cry,

Shudders at the force of storm,

Sodden feathers, not the norm.

Hoping sun comes shining through,

Flicker asks, “What will I do?

If the next storm is as wild

While I’m wishing it were mild.

Friends will fly away from here, 

I’ll be left alone, I fear.

Wait! I see a glimpse of sun.

Surely I’m the happy one.”


23 Comments

The Holly and the Maple

No, it’s not “The Holly and the Ivy,” but close enough. I noticed that the maple’s leaves got hung up on the holly tree below it, and the muse tickled the keyboard once again.

The maple sheds a coat that weaves

And floats towards the ground,

Hanging up on prickly leaves

Of holly all around.

 

The holly says, “I thank you, dear,

I’m shivering with cold.

When winter nights are chill and clear

Your leaves my warmth will hold.

 

And decorated, too, am I

Just like a Christmas tree.

My berries red will catch the eye

And all will look at me.

 

But you, dear maple, what of you?

Your scrawny arms are chill.

There’s nothing more that you can do.

So pray for you, I will.

 

Be steadfast through the winter gale,

Be tough as you can be,

Till new green leaves your arms regale

With pride and majesty.”

 

 

 

 


29 Comments

It’s Time

The autumn days are nearing their end. Nights are colder. Even though this coming week is one last promise of warmer weather, we know it can’t last. The RV park is emptying out. It’s soon time to go home.

It’s been a treat,

But where’s the heat?

A week’s reprieve

Will cold relieve,

The sun’s last rays 

Of autumn days

Will soon be gone

And cold comes on.

It’s time to go

Before the snow,

Back home to rain

And rain and rain.