MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017 (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 21 Oct 2017 19:02:00 GMT Sat, 21 Oct 2017 19:02:00 GMT October Business It is the time of year that I am spending most of my free time working on getting things squared away for winter, not blogging as you can tell.    While we have had some glorious warm days, most have been accompanied by big winds, which well, just sucks.  Still there are things outside that must not be put off or the snow and cold will show up and I'll be caught unprepared.

Definitely seeing the birds changing and I had HUGE flocks of these birds in my yard and have seen the biggest flocks of them around the valley that I've ever seen.  They flock much like the swallows and starlings and it is incredible to see so many.

I also have an influx of Clark's Nutcrackers this year too.  It seems to change from year to year and all I can think is that it has to do with the amount of cones produced by the pine trees (their food).   I don't mind them at all as they do not raid the feeders like the Pinyon Jays.

Last weekend we did get one last trip in with the trailer to go do fun dogs stuff at YDS.   It was a very pretty drive and had a blast while there for a few days.   Elliott got in some fun tracking, Sterling and I did a nosework seminar, Epic ran some agility and I got to catch up with some old friends that I don't see often enough!    Sterling also played in the scentwork match on Sunday and rocked the container search and got fastest time.   His interior search was okay but was after containers and he still does not see any point in finding something twice!    Took all the pups with and we all enjoyed some time just huddled in the trailer hanging out as well.    I so love playing at that facility but sadly it is up for sale and while we ALL hope it ends up in the hands of someone that will continue the dog events, it likely will be a horse person that buys it (more of that market around) and we'll be out.  Sigh.....

As I mentioned chores are in progress and as of this weekend the trailer is buttoned down for the winter.  I winterized it the water system, emptied out the things I don't want in there freezing and a friend came over to help me get the tarp on it.  Big check off on that box!    Then there is always the general, getting wood under cover for the wood stove, getting things from the patio into the garage and too big things covered up.  I think I only have one more of those to do!  YAY!    I am also though working on purging out some things in the house as well, while I have the back of the truck empty.   Gotta do it while I am in the mood and am preparing for some new furniture in the next few months as I've decided to order a sectional couch for my living room.  The fabric choices are many and still in progress and my trial piece should be here in a couple weeks.

I did sign up for a variety night class with a trainer/friend here and we are really enjoying that!  Allows me to take whatever dog wants to go and do what is on that night.   I don't remember if I told you all Tinker got her Novice Trick Dog title last month and Teddy got his Novice and Intermediate.  Well last week Teddy then completed his Advanced title at the ripe old age of 12 1/2!  Was great for both of them and Sterling and Epic have both gone and played with some of the other options.

I also have plopped a dog bed (dirty as it is) in my office and it seems to constantly be occupied now which honestly is kinda nice.  Great office mates!

Meanwhile Epic and I are still sporadically getting in obedience practice and I have only managed one walk at the reservoir (sadly) with 3 of the boys.  It was a lovely shirt sleeve day and I took my lunch hour to get some time with them out of doors.   The fall colors are on the downside right now but still quite pretty.

You can tell how dry it is here and as much as we hoped we were out of fire season, in the past week with the dry and the winds we've had numerous fires start.   I think we will all be glad to see SNOW!  Meanwhile, I saw this hay bale sculpture on the way home and had to share.  More and more of those are popping up along highways in MT and I have to say I really enjoy it.   Fun to see the creativity!

Not really remembering anything else exciting that I have to share.  Just staying busy as always which for me is the best medicine.   So that's all I got for now!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:59:36 GMT
Hope You Enjoyed GNP I am so very glad that we made it up there even as a Plan B!   Now on to life and misc other stuff for you in my attempt to get my buns back into blogging again.   It is hard to not just splat stuff randomly out on facebook and not write some proper blog but here goes because even my fb friends said they DO READ!  LOL   I'll throw in some pictures just to keep the toddlers in the bunch entertained - haha just kidding!

Work life still is sucking and very busy.   Confirming for me that once again (who thought it would be this soon) I need to get my self back on track to get out of IT and work into the area that I attempted to do changing jobs a few years ago.   More data analytics and support type work on the business side.  Since the company messed up THAT plan and it is apparent has no desire to help people get into the career paths they want - it is in my hands.  So wish me luck as I work back towards that personal goal!   Just don't want to do the same stuff I've done now for thrity (cough) plus years.  I want a new challenge for my cruise towards retirement.

Life otherwise has been somewhat nuts.    We lost a very dear member of our Alchmy (Epic's breeder) family this past week to cancer.   She was such a life force and I loved her from the moment I met her in person last year.   These last weeks she was at home with hospice care and the total commitment of her best friend and Epic's breeder Vikki and her husband.  She died with both of them and her beloved poodles by her side.  That has actually sucked more out of me than I ever realized.   F*** YOU CANCER! 

Another friend lost her beloved berner to cancer a few weeks ago as well, she was 3 and it was 6 days from diagnosis until she lost her fight. F*** YOU CANCER!    Another friend a few weeks ago lost her amazing cat to cancer as well - something he had fought for years but tough bugger that he was kept on going.   F*** YOU CANCER!  

After that though honestly, I am proud to say I also have many friends that are cancer survivors and have told caner to F*** OFF and for that we are truly blessed!    So in Claudia, Baby G and Winston's honor I toast all of YOU!   The rest of you, count your blessings - every single day!   I actually went to the agility trial here yesterday for a very quick visit and to drop off some things and I got THE BEST HUGS from many of my long time agility friends and for that I am so grateful!  Today Sterling and I went to do therapy at Son Heaven and those ladies always make me smile so I am grateful for that as well!

Helena, MTHelena, MT

On the dog front here at home everyone at this time is healthy thank doG.    Epic and I are trying to get as much of his outside open obedience practice in as we can.  We've had snow and rain to remind me that winter will be here and the jumping practice will move elsewhere when that happens.   He progressing on his broad jump, we are still working out the recall and the dumbell is also progressing.     Still have hopes of trialing in the spring but we shall see!    Yesterday and today I spent 6 hours bathing and grooming poodles since Sterling had therapy and Epic was well, a hairy monster from the black lagoon.   I am happy to say they both look like poodles again and yes, I STILL hate shaving feet.   The littles are on the agenda (shhh don't tell them) for today and the rest of the week.   

Two of my dogs finished their tricks class and Teddy got 2 of his trick titles 3 weeks ago and Tinker actually got one as well!   She did great as it was her first ever "class" and she is still trying to figure out how to learn.   She shuts down very quickly but her persistence is growing.  Teddy just LOVES to do tricks so I figured "why not"!   


I also finished a fun little book this week as I needed something uplifting and funny that I could read and laugh at and not have to think hard about.  Ali in Wonderland was a hoot I can say.  Had it on my kindle for months and am glad I got it started (and finished).   Some zentagle was done but honestly I obviously didn't find it very soothing so those were tossed as it was apparent.  I did do the one below last month and sent it to Claudia when she got out of the hospital.   Have been doing some off and on crochet work as well.   Valances for the new trailer curtains. 


In my attempt to have control over SOMEthing in life over the past weeks, the fall clean out in the house is also happening.  Trash cans full are going out every week and it makes me happy!   Some rearranging is happening to accommodate family at Christmas and honestly I'm kinda liking the change.   Yes there is the outside work of fall too, digging iris, cleaning out the garden so when the leaves are off the tree I can cover it up.   Really hoping for somewhat mild weather yet this month so I can dig iris out back and re-mulch some of the slope, we will see.  If I don't I won't have any blooming in the spring.

So there you have it in one big explosion!  I love fall really I do and am so hoping whatever it is in the universe that is out of alignment this year will get it's act together and line back up!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 08 Oct 2017 20:55:36 GMT
Fall GNP #4

The two  below are of my favorites of all my water shots this trip, interestingly enough last October when we visited, you couldn't see the cave as the falls was going over the top of the natural bridge.  I'll show you that at the end.....

This is from October 2016....

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Wed, 04 Oct 2017 15:59:48 GMT
Fall GNP #3

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Tue, 03 Oct 2017 18:48:13 GMT
Fall GNP #2


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Mon, 02 Oct 2017 15:10:57 GMT
Plans Change ...but I am learning to be more flexible as they do.    A friend and I had made plans to camp on the west side of Glacier National Park this past week/weekend.   The Sprague fire which has raged for so long and taken so much from the Park got a couple good doses of wet but still is not contained.  As our time came closer I realized that the west 1/2 of the Park was not going to be available to us so we decided to bail and instead do a super long day trip like we did last October and get up Going to the Sun highway to Logan Pass from the east entrance while we could.  We didn't get up that road last year as it was already closed.

We lucked out and the fall colors were glorious so I'm going to do a few posts for you with photos.   I actually think it was good as well the west side of Going to the Sun is just so spectacular that often the east side is rather ignored.  This sort of forced us to stop and appreciate the beauty we might not have otherwise.   We left home at 4 a.m. and hit were headed out of Browning as the sun came up.  I was amazed at the difference in the colors in the photos as the day progressed and we came back that direction later in the afternoon.

Had a lovely dog breakfast and romp at one of our favorite spots outside the park (we found last year) and then found another side road to picnic lunch after we left the park and headed south to Two Medicine and Running Eagle Falls.

Hope you enjoy!   Look for a few posts as I don't want to jam everything into one.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2017) Sun, 01 Oct 2017 01:17:47 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