MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017 (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 02 Sep 2017 00:06:00 GMT Sat, 02 Sep 2017 00:06:00 GMT On to Fall Well it is the first day of September, the kids are back in school, we deal with school buses coming home from work and the WILDFIRES continue to burn my home state.  As of tonight, 23 different fires are burning and we are seeing no relief for the next weeks.   Mind you these firefighters and their support have been fighting wildfires here since the first part of July if not earlier with no end in site.   I have friends that work for the Forest Service and to put a more personal spin on it, they have missed their young kids whole summer, first day of school, eclipse watching you name have all of those people working the fires.    The winds are horrid right now and a fire in Eastern Montana that started yesterday, burned 80,000 acres in 2 days!

Luckily here at my house the worst of it is just dry hot weather and the ongoing smoke which in turn has also limited our summer activities and will this fall as well.   You cannot be out in this with lung issues which I have and honestly, I am even seeing my dogs suffer with weeping eyes and sneezing.  This is the view from my place on a GOOD day.   The other part of the heat (mid 90s have been ongoing) and smoke is no chance to open up the house in the night to cool it off.  I keep saying though that we blessedly right now are not threatened by fire as friends are and the smoke here is nothing compared to those closer to the flames.

Not to depress everyone though.  We still have been busy at my house.  My lovely baby brother stayed here for 5-6 weeks and helped me with a boatload of projects I was struggling to get done.  He's a logical thinker and has some physical power I do not.   We worked until he had to leave and my credit card cried "wolf".   Some of our projects included those below and trimming trees, fixing window screens and building 3 new ones and many things I cannot recall now.

New power hitch jack and I LOVE IT!   

I had issues with the faucet that came with my trailer, it had handles on it that continually got bumped which made it leak water and the neck wasn't long enough to get water reliably into the sink instead of on the counter.  Replaced!  Not as "pretty" but much more functional!

A new sewer hose holder so I could get the stinky slinky out of the front area of the hitch.  Apparently trailer manufacturers feel that a short little itty bitty sewer hose of 15' will be long enough - NOT so this allows me to carry my longer one now.

Best project of the summer.  I had a dog door cut into the back storm door which we used for years.  Without gutters on the house, the storm door warped and the dog door flap fell off.   My goal - get rid of the storm door (so the back door didn't have to stay open all the time and also could be replaced eventually) and put in a wall mounted dog door.  I spent the money on a good one, brother and I cut a hole in my wall and taaadaaaa new door, double flap.  Took a while for the dogs to get used to it but now - no problem and I love it more than words!  Because of electrical wires in the wall we had to mount it a bit higher so that is why the stepper is on the outside - to help the little dogs.

The other replacement was by way of a new standup desk for my home office.  The cart I had was "okay" but I didn't have room for paper and pencil when I need to take notes and the keyboard wasn't really at the right height.  That cart is now recycled to replace the falling apart BBQ cart outside and this is my new desk.  

Meanwhile we also have a war on mice happening.   The smoke and dry, hot conditions have driven them into the house long before winter.  Now I HATE mice and declared war when they started keeping me up at night.   I also HATE killing things but these buggars have to be stopped so I went to the hardware store, got the dreaded snap traps and figured out a way that I could use them and not need to see the deceased AND not touch them to remove the body and keeps the trap away from prying dog noses and paws.  Oh and did I mention the one that snapped a trap under the bird cage (so the dogs couldn't get to it) and when I went to dispose of it, mouse AND TRAP were missing. Don't laugh but a simple flip top shoe box (my new shoes removed) with a hole cut in it and the trap set inside works really well.  (I just recently found the missing trap from under bird cage 1/2 way across the house and through a dog gate in a bedroom - no mouse.)

Grossed out yet?  haha

These guys meanwhile keep me going (things are awful again at work and I am again working frantically and universally to make a change in that area)....We are working on indoor obedience stuff with Epic (cuz of the smoke) and Tinker will try her first ever dog class next week.

That is the long and short of it really but I don't want to continue to fall so behind in my blog posts, even if they are just a bunch of miscellaneous things!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 02 Sep 2017 00:06:19 GMT
NW Montana Starry Nights I think we are improving and figuring out some of the light painting (we hadn't planned on star photos so didn't exactly have the perfect equipment).  I wanted to go out our last night and try some off the docks over the lake but of course it clouded up.  Oh well!   VERY happy with these.

The first few were taken at twilight just as an experiment and you can see there were some light hazy clouds in them but still was surprised how they turned out!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Thu, 24 Aug 2017 17:14:06 GMT
Camping in the Kootenai National Forest Before my brother arrived I knew I we were going to want to try to get out for one big camping trip while he was here so the search began for places to camp that hopefully wouldn't be smoked in from the wildfires.   An area I had been wanting to explore and never had been to was up in the northwest corner of Montana - up around Libby.   So found some open spots and we spent a lovely 4 days up there exploring around and just relaxing with no cell service and not many people as we were there during the week!   There was paddling, driving and just wandering around and I was shocked that we were out of the wildfire smoke for the most part although had a scare when we drove into the campground and there was a helicopter dipping water out of the lake right there!  We have agreed that it is an area we will likely go back to and poke around some more.  So here are the photos and unfortunately none of the wildlife although my brother was the wildlife whisperer of course, he saw a pileated woodpecker (one on my bucket list and I missed), had a skunk visit his camper on night one and we saw 2 baby muskrats when we went out to paddle one day.

This first shot is of a wildlife refuge way back in the mountains that we saw on the map and went looking for.  I would bet it is amazing during the waterfowl migrations!

At Little McGregor Lake.  A super fun little teeny lake off the highway that was a PERFECT spot to swim a poodle as well.  That is until a lilly pad grabbed him and he took off out of the water like the lake monster had gotten him!

Rose hips I believe - there were MANY bushes and berry bushes along the campsites, needless to say also was great for wildlife to hang in and rustle around in at night, including the bears, which luckily we had none of.

My brother getting good use out of his new toy.

Fall is coming up fast so the mornings were REALLY cool and there were some great misty fogs on the lake - if one got up early enough to see them!

Loon Lake, part of the Thompson Chain of Lakes.  No loons there but brother did see one paddling on the lake we camped by and we also saw one on Little McGregor Lake as well.

Kootenai Falls, well at least the lower part of them and the swinging bridge across the river - my vertigo was a "no go" for that but brother did go check it out!  Since the dogs were in the truck I didn't want to dally very long so we didn't get up to the real part of the falls.


We had a couple fairly clear nights so one night I did go out and do star pictures with my brother assistant and we got some pretty cool shots I think.  Those will be next post.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 23 Aug 2017 20:36:58 GMT
Baldy As we were touring around during our recent camping trip we came across this lovely bald eagle sitting in a snag across the highway from some roadkill (unfortunately two fawns that didn't make it across).  I think baldy was trying to figure out how to get to the meal without getting hit on the highway (a busy one).   So I took advantage of it and got some shots.  It was quite a ways up but not often they will let me get so close to a perch to photograph.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:29:34 GMT
Flying Poodle Just a few captures of Epic playing disc dog with my brother while he was here.  Hard to take photos when I'm the one throwing the discs so this was a fun challenge.  Some just to make you laugh and go "what happened there".  Epic is intense to say the least but he does love the game.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 20 Aug 2017 22:17:56 GMT
Been a LONG While Yes I am slacking off on the blog but honestly this summer has flown by and I have been busy not only with the 9-11 hour work days (which makes me want to throw computers in general out the window - and maybe some people too) but with a ton of other life stuff as well.  Plus the constant watering to just keep things barely alive has been a priority!

I see I've not posted since I lost Dot my 3rd chinese crested to leave me in the last 6 months and I will not tell a lie, I'm struggling with all that loss right now.   She started having seizures on a Sunday night and God bless my vet who was able to help me deal with those until she could get here Monday to help give Dot her very own angel wings and get her out of that failing body.   My heartfelt thanks as always to Dr. Cathy Davis and Adele Delp who once again were with me and my dogs during that time.  Their friendship helps me get over the mountains!

My brother also arrived in July and the projects began.  Yup, have not been sitting on my laurels and have not had time to do squat with cameras to be honest.   He is a HUGE help for some of those things I just cannot or am not willing to do alone.  One was the installation of a new "in the wall" dog door for the pups and removal of the craptastic back storm door.  All this in prep for replacing my old back door probably next year now.  We've also done a plumbing replacement project in the trailer as well as replacing the old hand crank tongue jack with a new (and mucho improved) power one and then also got a new longer sewer hose container put on as well!   Woohoo!   Tree trimming has also happened, more trips to Ace Hardware than I can shake a stick at and also replaced and built replacement screens for all my front windows.   I know there has been a lot of other projects both for him and for me but right now they escape me.  He's been here for about 5 weeks now and we've worked his buns off.    My dogs are also thrilled to death to have him around!

Last week I HAD to get away from the work situation for a while so we called on our wildfire smoke karma and headed north and blessedly, out of the constant smoke we have been dealing with here.  The state is under a Red Flag warning and we I believe are on week 13 or 16 of the drought.  It is so dry and krispy it is frightening and the poor firefighters are not catching a break with constant low humidity and high winds.   I'll share more on that trip in a later post.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 19 Aug 2017 21:32:25 GMT
Rocky Mountain Front June 2017 My company and I headed up to the Rocky Mountain Front with a goal of getting to Wood Lake and we did.  Here are some of my photos to share and I'm so thrilled it is so green!  We also stumbled across a waterfall I did not know existed and honestly probably doesn't run all year.  The waterfall photos are all off my iphone as I had to bushwhack a bit to get to it and didn't want to risk the expensive camera.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Thu, 29 Jun 2017 18:58:46 GMT
Tizer Gardens June 2017 Have never been here this early in the season so it was fun to see different blooms!  I also walked out with an amazing pressed flower picture and an new metal dog sculpture for my collection!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:03:18 GMT
Lewis and Clark Caverns I have never taken pics inside the caverns as honestly hauling a big camera on the 3/4 mile uphill hike to the entrance has not appealed to me and honestly to have a big camera banging around inside isn't a great idea.  But this time I had my iphone with me so what you see here is from that device, not that great but they give you the idea.  We had a brand new guide and he did a marvelous job but if you want to go, get in on the first tour of the day as that hike is on a south facing slope and it has little to no shade, so it gets unbearably hot.  Also, the tour is fairly rigorous and not for EVERY health level.  The cavern entrance is in the mountain side to the right in the panorama, you can see a little dark green spot not too far from the top of that farthest hump....if you can't see it that is okay too!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 26 Jun 2017 14:05:14 GMT
Reservoir Wildlife Sorry I am so far behind.  We are so busy with work and by the time I sign off from there the computer is the LAST on my list of things to do.  Ask my friends I email with!  LOL   So I go out and work on yard and house projects instead of computer stuff.  I saw only one set of babies in the nest and they look fairly well along.  The owlets were gone (probably fledged).  The turtles were a happy surprise!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:33:04 GMT
My Garden Blooms - June I thought I'd share some of my lovely garden blooms that, with all the moisture we have had are going nuts.  I also spent one entire weekend planting pots to have back by my pergola and have finished another project back there that I'll share later.   Hope these make you happy as they do me!  I am so happy to have so much color around this year and for the first time ever in my 20+ years up here I saw my first swallowtail butterfly.   She stopped by to approve of my potting selections!

This is the change up I did in front of my house.  We had these great stacked pots for the past few years but they were hard to keep watered properly and the pots all needed repainting.  So I saw this operation on a PBS show and ordered one.  Not very thrilled with the quality of it for the price but it will work for what I need (see how crooked it is, that is wobble that couldn't be tightened down).  I will try to remember to take photos of it later in the season if the top fills out as I hope it will.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 16 Jun 2017 02:56:26 GMT
Tetons, Wyoming Part 2

These last 3 were taken from the same spot and someday I'll actually stitch them together for a panorama.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:52:19 GMT
Tetons, Wyoming Part 1 Sorry I am running late here, between job demands and visitors, I haven't gotten back to my blog!  So here are some more photos from the Wyoming side of the Tetons.  We did a loop drive and I'll share photos in a couple of posts so I don't overwhelm you all in one.  These are from the Mormon settlement and the main highway leading up from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 11 Jun 2017 17:23:22 GMT
More Idaho Scenery Or otherwise known as "the backside" of the Tetons.   No less amazing I have to say and I really wanted to share just some of the other sites we saw and the AMAZING sunset we got one night.   Hope you enjoy and next posts will be from the Park side (east).

Finally the swans on Swan Lake right off the highway by Island Park.  We'd driven on by a bunch of people pulled off there on the way to the rv park and made a mental note of where it was.  Luckily the loop for the byway took us right by it the next day and I had to stop and get at least one shot!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Fri, 02 Jun 2017 13:23:10 GMT
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway Part 2 Mesa Falls has a lower and upper falls, quite a ways apart so we stopped at both.  The lower falls you really cannot get to but you can see it and with the high runoff right now it was pretty spectacular.  Looking down upon it you can tell there is hiking trail to the head of the falls (no thanks) and I believe there might actually be trail you can go on to hike between the two.   With bears and vertigo that isn't going to be on my list though.

Lower Mesa Falls

The upper falls has the visitor center and and absolutely astounding maze of metal walkways that take you down to the falls, literally.   There are some serious stairs but well worth it and many points where you can sit down and just enjoy.  That second photo shows some of the walkway and my friend Robin hanging over taking photos.

Great places to stop and just amazing the amount of water going over right now, with our "normal snow fall" this winter they will be roaring for quite a while I think.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 31 May 2017 16:16:44 GMT
Mesa Falls Scenic Byway Part 1 Am back from my latest camping trip which was planned specifically to get over to the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming.   After finding that there really wasn't any good place near Jackson to camp (lots of spots to dry camp in the woods but with temps still getting into the low 30s and a big ol snow storm only days before I left, that wasn't so appealing).   I had made a reservation for night one on the way over at a little park called Aspen Acres outside of Ashton, Idaho so was thrilled when they let me extend and just use that as base camp.   Fabulous little park with full hookups out in the middle of the massive farmlands in the area and it also has a golf course!  Recommend you check it out if you are looking for a place to camp at and tell Rick and Sherri that I said hello.

Day one was a drive on one of the scenic byways in the area.   The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway is a great trip and easily done in a day.   A number of things to see and of course some of it for me was off road.    We tried to get up to Cave Falls but best laid plans were stopped, even for 4WD by snow and downed trees.  I was bummed however we did find a couple of small cascades on the way so all was not lost!    The falls (and one of the two Sheep Falls in the region) are all in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest which offered a number of places to go hike (watch for bears) and meadows to run the poodles.  We did a great deal of exploring on the back roads in that national forest but honestly, there were soooo many trees down on the roads  that it will be a long time before some are open.   Remember the political state in Washington as you try to get back into some of these great natural areas and cannot.  There is that hiring freeze put down by the new administration - so guess what?  No seasonal employees to get out there and move trees (or take care of campgrounds).  Those of us that live here in the west in particular will be seeing more of that I believe, especially on our federally managed wildlands!  

Enough political enlightenment.....

This momma will soon have a fawn or two to care for it appears!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 29 May 2017 19:28:37 GMT
Bryce Part 2 Another moody day but we were committed and could skip the first few stops we had already done.  The climb up to 10,000 feet is amazing and it really does just make one stand in awe and wonder.  As my Mom says "God don't make no Junk!"   Some HDR in here that I messed with some - hey otherwise it is all just red rocks!  Depending on your monitor they may look funky.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Thu, 18 May 2017 17:39:54 GMT
Bryce Part 1 We did two trips to Bryce so I'll try to put the photos in two posts for each day.    Hard to choose what to put in here!  The long skinny ones of course are off the editing there.

I personally loved watching the weather go through but the others in the group were not as thrilled with the cold and the wind.  I could have stood at some of those points all day and just taken different shots.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 17 May 2017 00:07:37 GMT
A Walk up to Mossy Cave The cave wasn't the draw but the waterfall was!   Of course.  I did however take one picture of the moss in the cave just to prove it is there! On the way back out it started snowing.....


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 14 May 2017 20:40:23 GMT
Kodachrome Part 2 (and Grosvenor Arch)  

Views around the park and from our drive to Grosvenor Arch.  All part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 13 May 2017 00:41:58 GMT