Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever
n. : Boredom, restlestness, or irritability that results from lack of enviornmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparesly populated region or a confined indoor area.

Wikipedia says symptoms may include restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfullness, laughter, excessive sleeping, distrust with anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside, even in the rain, snow, or dark.

Katie and I might be in trouble. This photo of our house goes seems to go way too well with the definition of cabin fever.

Hey There
Ed here. This is my first blog post in about 2 months. Major formatting issues are driving me insane, but I'm going to continue anyway. Sorry about the small print. I've concluded that not many people read this, however, for some unknown reason, I'm going to try to continue to come up with a few posts now and then. This post has alot of photos, my favorite part of any blog that I read. I suppose I should tell you that I accidentally uploaded all the photos as "small", so if you want to see them larger, you can click on them and view them a bit larger.

To some people, it may seem like we live in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do. I actually think the opposite. I feel like there is just way too much to do. At least, too much of what I enjoy doing, most of which takes place in the middle of nowhere. Recently, we did have a stretch of normal, Montana cold weather. To be honest, after about 3 days in the house, I did feel a bit of the cabin fever. I may have an inherent need for the outdoors. The days cooped up inside did go by quick, however, with both of us keeping busy in our own little worlds most of the time.

Inside Time
I spend alot of my time indoors with my banjo or guitar. A lot more with my banjo recently, learning new tunes, re-learning old ones, or trying to write my own. That little green notebook you see in the photo below, contains all of the music or words to songs that I've written, some of which no one has ever heard except my dogs Hattie and Pfeiffer. I'd be pretty bummed out if I lost that thing. I am by no means, a professional song writer, but I enjoy doing it. Most of it would fit very well in the category of trash to most people. The banjo you see, also belongs in the trash. The thing that causes me to stop playing 99% of the time, is having to deal with the horrible quality of that instrument. It's really time for a new rig.

I spend a lot of time in this little zone, mostly just making noise for others

You can also find me during various time of the day, set up behind my spotting scope, checking out Fan Mountain for anything out of the ordianary. I've been looking hard out the kitchen window as well, in hopes to spot a bobcat, mountain lion, or for the mountain goats to reappear. I've only spotted tracks so far.

Checking for avalanches on Fan Mountain.

Someday I'm gonna spot a cat up there

Outside Time

It really is amazing when you seen the sun and blue sky after a number of days without it. There is an incredible energy in the mountains on a bluebird day that I believe can't be described. I try to finish all of my responsibilities for the day early in the morning, so that I have the day to soak up the sun and enjoy it. That usually includes alot of snowplowing and shovelling and taking care of the horses.

The Northeast face of Fan Mountain on a crystal clear day

Ghost reminds me that hay is definitely for horses each morning.

After our most recent stretch of cold weather and cabin fever, we both had a strong urge to get outside. The sun was shining for the first time in almost a week and the temperature finally was above zero. We'd been spotting this cow and calf moose around, so we decided to head out with the intention of finding them and getting a look at them. We strapped on some snowshoes and headed out the back door. Not far from our "yard", there were tracks everywhere. Deer and snowshoe hare tracks were the most prevalent, but if you looked hard enough, I'm sure you could come up with quite a list of winter critter tracks. We did come upon a mountain lion track not very far from the house. The track displayed a downhill leap of about 20 feet inbetween each track. So cool.

Here's a photo of me lying down inbetween the mountain lion track. Note that I'm about 5'6" and 150 lbs of solid muscle

Here's a family self portrait. These usually take 3-4 takes with the dogs crying the whole time.

Katie with the Spanish Peaks

The Dogs in Heaven, loving life

My girl Hattie, also known as HTD, Hattie The Dog. This looks like we went to Walmart and got that background put on.

After about a 40 minute walk through paradise, we peaked up over a small knob above The Moose Ponds. Katie let out a whistle and Momma Moose came crashing out of the trees a few hundred yards in front of us. The calf was close behind her.

Our goal of finding the moose. This was the calf trying to catch up to momma. This photo is zoomed way in.

This is taken from the same spot as the previous photo, not zoomed in. Can you spot the moose?

Happy that we succeeded in finding the cow and calf moose, we trekked on with our second goal of having some hot chocolate. I built us a little snow bench, and set up The Whisperlite stove to boil some water. We sat and drank some hot chocolate, soaked up some Vitamin D from the sun, and took in the beautiful views of Fan Mountain and Lone Peak.

Katie trekking on in the deep snow

For some reason, I felt this was a beautiful scene.

Hattie and I Building a snow bench

Katie waits patiently for some hot chocolate as Pfeiffer wonders if there are any sandwhiches in the bag

The excitement of The Big Sky Big Grass Festival is upon us. The 3 day weekend of great music, tons of skiing, and no sleep is approaching fast. Definitely one of our most favorite times of the year. Our friends Tom Murphy and John Lowell are a fixture in Big Sky. The play the festival every year and play almost every weekend as well. We were lucky enough to catch them at The Carabiner Lounge after skiing the other night.

Tom Murphy and John Lowell pick some tunes as the snow falls outside behind them

And last but not least, a photo of a trout I caught on my first cast about a month ago on the Madison. The fish were hungry that day and I was able to get my winter fix of fishing. Almost every cast landed a beautiful trout similar to the one in the photo.

I felt like I just wrote a huge novel. Sorry for the monsterous blog post. Wait, no one reads this thing anyway!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Neck Gaitor Weather, All Right

It's cold out. Really cold.
We've spent the last 2.5 days vegging out inside the house.
Ed plays his banjo, I tinker around in the kitchen, laundry room, or most recently, in front of my sewing machine. Hence, the birth of today's post.
This post is inspired by my friend Cresty.
Cresty has mad style. He rocks wife beaters when it's 50 degrees outside, jeans when its 90, and cool, dark sunglasses until he goes to bed at night.
Cresty comes to visit us a few times a year, and in the winter, we ski.
Being the style master he is, Cresty wears a scarf in the winter. Unfortunately for him, skiing and scarves don't tend to mix, they flap around at untimely intervals, and can easily get wrapped around the ski lift. Danger, Safety-pants!
So this year, I offered to make Cresty a neck gaitor, to sit in for his scarf while on the slopes.
And off we go.
Oh no, you say.
I can't sew, you say.
Ahhhh... but you can.
A few years ago, five to be exact, Ed bought me a sewing machine for my birthday.
I took a few classes, basically teaching me how NOT to break my fancy machine.
From there, I experimented.
For this project, however, you don't really need a machine at all.
A needle and thread will take a bit longer, but work just as well.
Above, are the materials you will need to make a neck gaitor.
A piece of polar fleece, a ruler of some sort, and some scissors will do the trick.
The green mat is a cutting and measuring mat, the yellow handled thingy is a rolling cutter (so cool), and the little white guy is a seam cutter for when you royally f*ck up.
(I use my seam cutter at least every five minutes.)
First, and most importantly, figure out which direction your fabric stretches. This essential step is one I often overlook, resulting in an ill-to-non-fitting neck gaitor.
Not ok for a claustrophobic.
Measure and cut your fleece into a rectangle, as seen above.
The stretch should be horizontal, going the "long" direction of your rectangle.
The dimensions of my rectangle are 13 inches by 21 inches, but adjust to your liking.
I have a huge head. Enormous. Almost freakish.
Next, you are going to sew a 1 inch seam on the long sides of your rectangle.
Try to make sure you fold all of your seams the same direction so that your gaitor isn't super-ghetto looking.
Lastly, sew the short sides of your rectangle together, creating a tube.
Turn your gaitor right-side-out and try it on. If it's too big, sew another "short-side" seam about a 1/2 inch in and cut off the excess fabric.
You can adjust your measurements to fit your needs.
Above are a few sample neck gaitors that I made whilst working out the kinks. The one on the right is actually made from an old fuzzy sweater and is really warm and snugtastic.
Definitely experiment with different fabrics and materials to find what works best to keep that neck, chin, and nose warm and dry while out on the slopes!

Good talk. See ya out there.