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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Witches Brew

The Witches’ Spell
Act IV, Scene 1 from Macbeth (1606) by William Shakespeare

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder.
Enter the three Witches.
1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.
3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!
1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grizzly Encounter

Part of this weekend my daughter, Savannah Rose, and I got to travel to Bozeman, MT to a secluded mountain area called Mountain Top Ministries. We had an opportunity to spend time with some dear sweet friends we have not seen for a long time. One person traveled from California and another from Maryland this year. There were 9 in attendance and we had fun sharing memories and listening to new stories of our adventures for the last 10+ years.

I was only able to stay for one evening and went out to my van in the morning to find it had been under attack during the night. There was a mess of shattered glass everywhere -- inside the van and on the ground. Also, there was very little garbage debris on the ground in front of the van -- Cheese It Box and a couple of small plastic wrappers from Cheese Crackers.

It was obvious, my intruder to the van was a bear. Initial shock set in and it was not until my friends started helping me vacuum the glass and cover the window with some plastic, that we all realized just how big the surprise visitor had been. Only a little later did we hear from one of the caretakers, that a big silver tip grizzly momma bear had been seen around and had caused some damage to one of their buildings recently.

We all laughed acting like forensic specialists -- finding blood spatter and long hairs, following the trail of paw prints on the dusty van door and dirt path on the windshield of two vehicles.

While cleaning up the mess, I placed a call to my husband who replied, "Wonder what the insurance company will say to damage caused by a bear?" Another call I placed to my brother, who laughed and then said, "What year of van is that?" When I traveled my 3 hours back to Great Falls, he already had a window waiting with our shop vacuum. He found there is really more damage done to the door as it is termed "sprung", but for now the new window is in and the fragments are mostly removed -- more does seem to keep showing up inside the van.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lewistown, Montana Exploring

My brother has been painting on some new apartments in Lewistown, Montana. He travels from Great Falls and stays 4 or 5 days during the work week and returns back home on the weekends. This week the kids and I loaded up in the van and decided to go for a visit to Lewistown. We got to see what he is working on and explore the town. He was also treated out to dinner at a hometown restaurant and a good time was had by all.

One of the first interesting things we saw were mule deer in a person's yard, almost looking like plastic lawn ornaments, but very real and moving.

My son, Wynston, spotted a park towards the end of town and we had fun seeing the cannon, rocket, Statue of Liberty replica, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, an original gold rush rail cart, and other things. My youngest son, Avery was very impressed with the swings as he called them "adult size". They even climbed on the playground equipment and went down the slides a time or two.

Lewistown is a town in that most people who visit Montana never see. Lying out in the middle of Central Montana, Lewistown is quite the distance from all the major tourist destinations in the state. And this is too bad, since Lewistown is a surprisingly nice town. The downtown is clean and historic, the streets are tree-lined and the location of Lewistown is excellent for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities.

Lewistown is located pretty much in the dead-center of Montana, and is about 100 miles to the east of Great Falls on US Highway 200. Billings, the only other nearby major city, is located about 120 miles to the south, on US Highway 87. Although Lewistown is located in Central Montana (which everyone often thinks of as being “flat”), the town sits in a very scenic setting. The Judith Mountains, which are a small mountain range, are located just to the north and east of town. The Big Snowy Mountains, which are a very scenic mountain range and rise well above timberline, are located just 20 miles south of town. And, about 40 miles southwest of town, the Little Belt Mountains rise up off the valley floor.

The Lewistown Courthouse

Some of the houses on Main Street have a grandeur and impressive feel about them as pictured here:

It was a very enjoyable day trip which we all enjoyed. I may just have to take another trip that way and explore a little bit more. My interest has been peaked to find out what a chokecherry is as one building has painted on its side like an advertisement: "The Chokecherry Capital of the World, Lewistown, Montana". I guess that will be another blog, once I find out more.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fall Colors Are Flying By

I started taking pictures of the gigantic tree in our front yard. It acts as an umbrella to us during the summer months keeping the hot sun off our house and picture window. The tree is also a haven for us to sit under in a two seater swing or at the picnic table (not once did I use our colorful umbrella this year).

I have fallen in love with the branches and how intricate and woven they appear to be. So standing underneath with my digital camera, I started snapping photos. My husband thought I was a little on the crazy side of life at the time, but let me have my whim.

Then I started taking photos when the leaves changed and also noticed that this year in Great Falls, Montana we seem to have been blessed with a real season of Fall. Last year, it just blew through the neighbor hood and weather beat upon the leaves making them crash to the ground and become a swamp we could not even wade through.

I felt I had an angel appear from out of no where with a contraption I had never seen before and he vacuumed my leaves and I helped him empty into big yard sacks -- only asking for a donation -- "Any small amount will do," he said.

This year, the leaves have fallen a few at a time and been more manageable in raking and removing. I look at the tree and see it bare but am not depressed for winter will come and hopefully go quick enough that I can begin to enjoy the green and shade once again. Don't get me wrong, I do love all the seasons but will admit to being more partial to some than others.

Hope you are enjoying your colors, cooler temperatures, and the changing of the seasons.

Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell

We went on a Sunday drive recently for the men of the house to do a little fishing. It is quite a flurry of excitement to get everyone geared up ready to pull out of the driveway. Our destination this outing was Tiber Dam. I think my husband pulls out one of his many Montana road maps, shuts his eyes, and does a finger point to make his travel plan. This outing was positive for us all. The kids had fun looking for fossilized wood bits, shells, more rocks for our rock garden, and an off road adventure in our van. Yes, their mom was cautious but adventurous in going over some really rough terrain. (Wished I had a 4 big monster tire vehicle on that adventure.) Glad my brother was in the truck behind me, but he wasn't called upon to pull me out of any major mishaps.

The plan is for us to return this coming weekend for the guys to cast another fishing line. My brother and his girlfriend made an overnight camping fishing trip there since these pictures. They froze in their overnight adventure but my brother caught some type of German trout (wish I had a picture), but then he let it go. Now my husband is chomping at the bit for a chance to catch him one. Let those fish stories roll!! If he catches one, the camera will be out and it will be posted here for all to see.

Here is some information on our travel location:

Just east of Shelby (less than an hour away), residents and visitors can enjoy one of the most versatile recreational areas in Montana, Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell. The lake provides excellent year-round angling for walleye, northern and sauger pike, native trout, ling, perch and others. Some may want to try their hand at bow fishing for carp that often exceed 20 pounds.

For boaters and swimmers the area boasts over 178 miles of shore line, a marina, and five well-maintained boat ramps located strategically around the lake. There are also numerous campground areas.

While you’re at Tiber you’ll observe spectacular windblown sandstone formations, tipi rings, and one of the largest earthen dikes in the world over three miles long! The area surrounding Tiber contains excellent hunting for mule and whitetail deer, antelope, upland game birds, water fowl, and varmints. A unique birdwatching area is located along the Marias River below Tiber Dam. Don’t miss Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell (Tiber Reservoir) and Tiber Marina.

Something Fishy At My House

The past couple of months, my husband's pets have grown in size and number. He is so funny at how much he studies online to find out all the information on his hobby.

Each one of his fish have dispositions much like humans. It is fascinating to watch how they interact with each other.

Their shapes, colors, and pattern design on their bodies are spectacular. I can't name all of the different names of his fish, but I do know two of them are Oscars, two of them are Jack Dempsey, one is a Plecostamus (the algae eater), and one is a type of Cyclid.

He only has given one a special name: Goldie. This one seems more delicate, but can hold its own in the tank.

The kids and I have recently made a suggestion of getting a few more fish with some different coloring to add more of a variety in the tank. We are suggesting maybe a pretty green or blue addition.

Extra Passenger

On a recent trip -- supposed fishing outing -- this character rode on my windshield approximately 100 miles. I pulled out the digital camera and he let me have a photo shoot on the hood of our van.

I posted his picture on Facebook and my aunt responded, "Keep him on your side of the mountains, we have enough already".

I find the details on him fascinating. I also loved his coloring. My little extra passenger eventually lept away on his further travels. I haven't heard him around. There were many at the dam we explored making much noise, so much so, my youngest who fears bees and buzzing was somewhat scared.

The National Geographic had this information: Locusts are related to grasshoppers and the two insects look similar. However, locust behavior can be something else entirely. Locusts are sometimes solitary insects with lifestyles much like grasshoppers. But locusts have another behavioral phase called the gregarious phase. When environmental conditions produce many green plants and promote breeding, locusts can congregate into thick, mobile, ravenous swarms.

Now we are into fall and sweaters are out, I am sure these critters have taken flight elsewhere. They have traveled over the mountains headed for warmer climates, leaving Montana for greener scenery.

Antique Swans Have A New Home

In a glass case at our local St. De Paul Catholic Thrift Store was this plastic sandwich bag of a couple miniature "dust collectors" as my husband would call them if he had been shopping with me. Fortunately my son, Wynston was along and saw the beauty and uniqueness, so home they came with us.

Now, I must let you know when I showed them to my husband, he said they are beautiful and likes the detail work.

We have no idea how old this pair is or even what they were used for originally. One speculation is they held creamer or sugar, but I don't think so as they are not really covered and they are so small.

If you know what these beautiful swans would have been used for in yesteryears, please let me know.

1966 S'mores Cupcakes

On a recent Thrift Store find I came across a first edition Betty Crocker's Cake and Frosting Mix Cookbook. One recipe for a sweet treat I found while in the store looking at the book was S'mores Cupcakes.

I doubt they had so many different varieties of Hershey Kisses to choose from or even Cocoanut Covered Marsh Mellows in 1966, but my kids sure did enjoy the flavors in our cupcakes.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a simple and easy to make sweet treat -- this would be a highly recommended one from my family. They also would like to insert: BEST ENJOYED WHILE WARM!!!!