Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New, Improved, Jack Creek Coyles~ Version 2.5

Yep. We been on a hiatus, I'll tell you WHAT!

It's been five solid months since our last post.

We got a little overwhelmed with it all, is the thing.

Spring picks up speed and before you know it, SUMMER!!!

Let's give this entry a bit of a summer photo blog feel, shall we?

Above, a mama elk, caught off-guard soon after birth.

The first week of June.

First few weeks of June bring many baby animals down to the flats...Elk, deer, and Antelope.

It's a total cute-fest.

After putting my seeds in March first, babying them, hardening them, I eventually was able to put the hardy seedlings into the garden the first week of June! EARLY this year....but it was well worth it. They loved every minute of a our cool spring and flourished.

Saw alot of bear this summer! Even lost a 200 pound pig to one....was it this guy?


Well, hey, our road's washed out, eh?

Spring run-off was brutal around Jack Creek this year!

My first batch of Feta Goat Cheese this spring. Many more batches ensued.


Although my forte, I found, is definitely cream cheese....MMMmmm....

With all those fragile tomato plants flourishing, we had to build ourselves a first-ever Coyle Hoop House.

What an awesome job that thing did keeping our tomatoes, basil, and cucumber plants happy and warm.

Hurray for 7 quarts of canned tomatoes this fall!!!

Um....apparently we had a moose visitor one evening in the garden. Luckily the dogs were ON IT and he didn't have time for seedling snacks.

Ed and I spent our three year anniversary at Bear Camp Cabin, and had a much needed wilderness weekend, with no bear sightings but PLENTY of moose. (which are my favorite)

Visitors for summer! We were lucky to have SEVERAL (you know who you are) summer visitors this year, in particular my dad and step mom Denise, pictured above made a cross country trek in their Volkswagon, which included a nice stay at the Double F Ranch! We took them out on a wilderness trail (mostly off-trail) ride with the horses and had a great week in general.

Goat Farmhouse Cheddar! I learned SO MUCH about cheese making this summer with two does in milk. I made Feta, Ricotta, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, monteray jack and above I am hanging my first batch of cheddar. We have yet to cut into this baby, aging makes it better, right?

Summer in all it's glory. Don't blink or it'll all pass you by...

My new-found riding partner this summer, Navajo the paint horse. Love him, and all his fat guy goodness. We spent many a good days in the company of Ed and Irish out in the mountains. By the end of the summer, Mr. Navajo was confident enough for some equestrian hopping of logs and such...I'm not too fond of that new-found skill, personally.

Above, with the Ennis Institute of the Arts in full swing all summer, we spy a life-sized horse built by a small group of my third, fourth, and fifth graders. We studied local (and largely world renown) artist Deborah Butterfield with this project. Huge success. Huge.

The baby doelings, Pinky and Flo, out at pasture. They were NOT the best at staying INSIDE of the electric fenced pasture this summer, I might add. Resulting in many a headache of the goatkeeper!

Taking advantage of the summer weather, we squeezed in several outdoor art lessons, with nature as our classroom.

Coyote pup, resting near the roadside, on our way to Big Sky one morning.

Targhee Bluegrass Festival weekend. Our favorite bluegrass festival ever.

One Big Bear print!

Alas, what do we have here? The premier tomatoes of the season, mid August.

Fall is coming...our first dusting of snow.

Ed's brother Frank arrives for a visit after working this past summer in Alaska. The boys get out in the hills for some elk hunting.

We found out in late July that we are expecting a third Coyle! Due date is around March 28, when winter will still be in full swing, BBRRRRRRrrrrr!!! Dusting off my sewing machine, I experiment with some warmly insulated baby blankets at home...

We ring in the school year with a bang at the Ennis Institute of the Arts. Full classes, returning students, and a newly added ceramics medium. The kids are full of excitement, bringing me full-speed out of my first trimester energy slump. And away we go!

Four months along in-utero, baby Coyle is beginning to make an appearance to the innocent bystander.

September 2nd marks the first day of our integrated Music Program at Ennis Institute of the Arts. With a music teacher giving private lessons on Tuesdays at the school, I am able to fill his schedule with children learning Piano, Fiddle, and Guitar. Feeling lucky to have found a wonderful teacher and to have parents in our small Ennis community who fully support the ARTS!

We have had a colorful and warm fall, rare for us! Very much enjoyed by all.

Pfeiffer the dog plays King of the Log Pile. Winter is on it's way which means firewood season for Ed. Lots of work to heat our home for nine months of the year. Plus, with the addition of a tiny Coyle this upcoming winter, our house will need to be a bit warmer than usual...resulting in more wood and power consumption getting thrown in that direction. Where can we cut back?

A first grader is inspired by Edward Munch's painting The Scream....just in time for Halloween!

Ed has an eventful Elk bow hunting season, and we eagerly await our taxidermist treasure!

Plaster masks for Dia de los Muertos at EIA.

Feeling good enough to run still at 18 weeks along. Although I love to run, I look forward to gliding along over the snow this upcoming snow season. Enough of this bouncing exercise, let's do something a little more smooth for this baby! Ed and I both count the days down to the opening ski season at Big Sky Resort.

Our garden produced alot this summer, but due to my lack of interest in either eating or harvesting much, we didn't celebrate our bounties to their worth. My first trimester of pregnancy unfortunately led my stomach on a very picky journey of needs and wants, none of which included the fresh veggies we were surrounded by.

Luckily, as my taste buds recovered this fall, the neglected patch of plants out front decided to throw out a great fall crop.

Meatbirds! We raised and butchered 31 Freedom Ranger Chickens this summer and fall. I'm not sure I can go back to the fat behemoths we experienced last summer, with only ONE Freedom Ranger loss out of the bunch this season. These birds were hardy, healthy, and happy, right up to 18 weeks. A great crop.

Well, there you have the short version!
Our summer.
The thing about Sustainability, which was the founding principal behind this blog, is that it takes TIME and ENERGY to succeed. With both of these aspects of life waxing and waning, in a constant battle for more of the other, sometimes you can lose sight of why you are even doing it all.
Wouldn't it just be easier to NOT do all this?
Maybe. Maybe it wouldn't be easy at all.
Maybe it would wreak havoc on our lives, in fact.
Wasn't that the problem in the first place?
We have been over the moon the last four and a half months, expecting our first child.
Then, the other night, I sat idly on the couch, watching a PBS new program about the horrifyingly fast population growth.
Tomorrow, Halloween 2011, marks the day the world population will reach 7 billion.
The baby kicked.
What are we doing? Are we part of the problem? Should we have done this?
I panicked. I felt sick. I instantly worried about our baby's future on this overcrowded planet.
Trying to clear my mind of the invasive thoughts, I went down to take care of our livestock for the evening.
Somewhere between milking the goats, counting the hens, and turning off my flashlight to listen to night birds, I remembered; It is the future that counts.
Though we cannot change the choices of others, we can strongly influence them through knowledge and teaching.
The problem with population growth is SUSTAINABILITY. How long can the earth sustain without action?
If we can instill our ideas, our values, our choices in this child, who is to say he or she wont make a difference in the sustainable choices of others ?
What if we could shift ourselves from being 'part of the problem' to 'part of the solution'?
A teaching challenge? For a teacher?
(cue: shit-eating grin)

A quote I read from Jon Edwards that recently overwhelmed me:
Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts: the sight of the deep-blue sky, and the clustering stars above, seems to impart a quiet to the mind.

As our lives become even more multi-faceted, sustainability takes on more of a focus and meaning than ever before.
Come with us.
(bring some ice cream if you think of it)


  1. Congrats on your upcoming addition. You are so right, they are the future, and your baby will grow up knowing exactly what is the right thing to do in this crazy world. Good to hear things are going good!

  2. Katie-
    You & Ed (and your youngun)'s impact on population will be fine. It's hard to think about the big, big picture, all we can do is work on our little squares of the quilt. What the world needs are more little goat-milking wood-splitters.

  3. It is truely overwhelming to look at the big picture, but only concentrating on ourselves in what got us into this mess in the first place...