I’m trying to think of ways to put off Christmas/winter for just a little longer. Maybe I’ll get inspired next week and get some decorations up. But for one more blog posting, I want to reminisce about the last bit of summerish sunshine I found in Montana in October. No wonder I’m yearning for it. Since we got home, it seems all we’ve had is one bad weather system after another. First it’s wind and rain and then it’s rain and wind.
So I hope you won’t mind taking one more trip back to Montana with me to remember those sunny days. Walking through a field that the farmer had left natural–not fallow, but natural–I came across unexpected treasures. This juniper bush, for example; I wish I could share the aroma with you through the photo.
Juniper bush with berries
The field seemed to be nothing but a bunch of old grasses at first, but it was full of life. Even the plant life was interesting because of so many varieties. It was very, very quiet here, except for the swishing of the grasses in the slight breeze.
High grasses of many types
Imagine you are high-stepping it through these grasses when you happen to look up and, from the clump of bushes ahead, an owl silently lifts off and glides away to another clump of dense brush a safer distance from the intruders. I tried to take his picture but he was too quick and his silent flight gave him several seconds’ head start. The photo I got only shows that a bird was actually there, but you can’t tell that it was Detective Owl of Who Dunnnit fame. https://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/who-dunnit/
Detective Owl might have had a little drink. He’s quite blurry.
Owls are not the only birds around here. Upland game birds, such as pheasants, partridge and grouse can be found here too. If I had a pheasant for the pot, I’d have no trouble finding the herbs to spice it up with. This sage is aromatic and ready to use.
Perfect for the stuffing.
But in case I started thinking too much about dinner, I continued my high-stepping hike through the field and had to concentrate on keeping out of the mucky spot where a bit of water had collected, maybe to keep the cattails happy.
They like it a little bit wetter so you’ll find them in the lower dips of the field.
Not wanting to get my feet wet, I climbed higher up the hillside. Near the crest of the hill I was surprised to see a plant I had only expected to see in semi-desert terrain.
Prickly pear cactus. I was so glad to be wearing my heavy boots.
It was at this point that I remembered a farmer saying that it may be October but the rattlers haven’t denned up yet. Where there’s dry ground and prickly pear cactus, there could possibly be rattlesnakes. I walked back to the truck along the edge of the planted field that bordered the natural one. This way I could see the earth between the wheat stubble and I kept my eyes busy sweeping the ground about ten feet ahead of me. I wasn’t really worried about snakes, and I felt pretty safe with my high leather boots, but still, I believe it’s better to avoid trouble than to have to confront it.
It was a beautiful warm day and I felt part of the natural world – maybe a little bit high on all the fresh air. I loved it here. Someday I’ll come back again to the farms near the Missouri River.
A very long river