Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There is a House In New Orleans. I keep hearing that song in my head.

Oh yeah. New Year's Eve.  Time to get ready to sing the song.  When the clock strikes twelve!  Ten, nine, eight, seven, six........ "There is a  House in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun".

This is the time that we get together with friends and family and really welcome in the new year.  We have been doing this for eleven years.  We have only been rained out one year and it's a possibility that this could be the second.  It is pouring rain and warm today.  We have had all kinds of weather over the years.  Sometimes it has been really cold.  We have had so much snow that we plowed a ramp to start off the sled run.  One thing for sure with this group, if there is no snow, they will think of something to do to ring in the new year.

Our first party was New Year's Eve 2000.

Here some of the guys are explaining to each other exactly how to stand on your sled to go down the run.  Notice that the youngest one to the right, does not have a sled and is just watching the show.

New Year's Eve 2000

And then we have the "standing up going down the run backwards" attempt.

And guess what?  It didn't work.


These gals were more sensible.

This is one of the kids showing us how you really do it.

Some photos from 2010.


It's not just about the sledding though.  There's a lot of music to be played.  Quite a bit of zaniness is required to properly say goodbye to the old and bring in the new.

We decided to have a parade in 2008.


 It involves both the young and the old and the in-between.



Those that don't play an instrument, dance.


Depending on the temperature, there's a lot of standing by the fire to discuss world events.


And of course, there is singing.  Lots of singing.


 And more playing.


The best part is watching the kids having so much fun.

 2003 photos

 And welcoming the new ones.


The kids usually make to midnight, but they are pretty worn out the next day.


No one can sing the "House of the Rising Sun", like Retired Mountain Man.

It has become our tradition to sing it at midnight..  Everyone knows the words to every verse, even the kids!  We usually have to sing it two or three times to really bring in the New Year right.  Yes, the song is still playing in my head.  "There is a House In New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun........"  Bring on 2012! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Emergency, emergency

In my last post there is a photo of Retired Mountain man putting together a tricycle.  In the background is a gift that hadn't been wrapped, the board game based on the TV show, Emergency.  Our boys loved that show.  Do you remember it?  It was the show with the paramedics from Squad 51.  They went out on all kinds of emergency calls.  The beginning of the show always started out with sirens blaring and the squad reporting back to the station, "BP is 190 over 100, pulse, 105."

Do kids play board games anymore?  We had dozens of them back them and were always looking for a new one.  Sometimes you had to use your imagination and there was lots of interaction with the other players.  I still love to find a new game that is fun to play.  We played a new one with our kids a couple of weeks ago and it is a great game.  Ingenious.  If you are looking for a fun new game, give it a try.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Past

The tricycle Christmas in 1976.  My sisters and families both came to spend Christmas with us.  We finally got all the kids to bed on Christmas Eve and then it was time to start assembling the toys for Christmas morning.  The guys went to work on a tricycle, a rocking horse, a wagon and an electronic football game, which turned out to be more of a distraction for the adults than a toy for the kids.

I should also mention that the tricycle came with a couple hundred pieces.  There were no safety warnings back then.  This is the "five stitches in the forehead" tricycle.  There was a reason we called him Crazy Dave.

 The toy for the kids.


Rascal got his BB gun along with the usual mom warnings like, "be careful or you'll shoot your eye out!"  

I think it was about 2:00 a.m. before the guys had all of the Santa toys assembled and under the tree.  It was a wonderful time. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Morn

 At 6:00 a.m. - a little reflection

At 9:30 a.m. it's snowing lightly, just like it should on Christmas Eve.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.  Norman Vincent Peale

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Changes for 2012

The basement.  The place where everything gets dumped until it is put away in it's proper location.  When we first built our house in 1980, the basement was not finished.  No sheet rock, no flooring, no bathroom.  We did install sheet rock right away, but it was not finished.  We left it that way on purpose.  After all, it was our sons' room.  They spent quite a bit of time crashing about and smashing into walls, etc.  Boys will be boys.
"If you are going to rough house, go downstairs and don't come back up!" 

As time went on we gradually started to finish it.  Someone gave us bathroom fixtures.  I taped and finished the sheet rock and then added the paint.  Someone else gave us pieces of carpet.  The boys grew up and moved out.  Now it has become the guest room/playroom for all of the kids when they visit.  It is still not what you would call "finished", but it's functional.

Well, it is about to be transformed into something entirely different.  A music studio.  Yes indeed, the band members have purchased a Yamaha PA system which we will set up in the basement, along with my keyboard and mics and mic stands.

We haven't told our children or grandchildren that their guest room is about to become history.  Once New Year's Eve is over, the basement room becomes the band's music studio.  They will have to get used to sleeping in-between the speakers, amplifiers, and assorted instruments.  Life is full of changes.

Winter Solstice 2011

Yesterday afternoon, Retired Mtn Man and I went for our walk in the woods.  It was a beautiful winter day with all the snow on the trees. I wanted to take my camera but he said, "no camera".  You see, Retired Mtn Man does not like to stop when he is hiking.  He something like a mountain goat, sprinting up the mountain and back down without even taking a deep breath.  Not me.  I am a total klutz.  I can barely walk without tripping over my feet, so unless I stop to look at something, the only thing I see is where I am going to place my foot next. 

Well, I am hiking with the guy who has eyes like a hawk and never misses a thing as we are walking up the trail. So, there was "no stopping" and "no camera" to take the really cool picture of the sun breaking through the clouds over the lake.  You just have to imagine what it looked like.  Sun rays shining down from the clouds onto the sparkling water. 

There were lots of fresh deer and elk tracks and the usual squirrel and rabbit tracks.  We haven't seen any wolf tracks yet, but we have had reports that there are wolves on Howe Mountain and also wolf tracks on the 80, which is about two miles from here.  Something about that makes me a little uneasy.  

In the evening, the Cougar Creek Band played at the Outskirt's Cafe for the Winter Solstice celebration.   There was good food and wine to keep us warm.  It's a good thing because the low was 15 degrees.  

Now we are all into the final countdown.  Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I am almost ready.  How about you?  I have a few gifts to wrap and cookies to bake.

I love Andy Rooney's advice:

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don't clean it up too quickly. "  

And a few words from the wise Dr. Seuss:

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

And last but not least:  I saw momma kissing Santa Claus. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snow Level, two inches

We are slowly starting to build a snow base for our New Year's Eve sledding party.  Two inches of snow last night.

It was was beautiful sunrise this morning.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas card 2011

I did not send out Christmas cards this year.  I just didn't get organized enough.  This photo of Maggie was one of my favorites for 2011.

  I didn't think she and I were going to survive her first puppy months.  But somehow she is turning into a very nice dog.  She loves attention and Retired Mountain Man and I love playing with her.  Yep!  We are at that stage in life where we pour all of our attention into our pets just like we did our sons.  Hmmm. 

That said, she still has some bad habits we need to work on.  Our neighbors will vouch to that.  Most of Thompson's toys end up over here and are then chewed to bits.  Then there are the door mats and who knows what else.  Sometimes the items are not recognizable. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yesterday the moose were on the move. I think they heard that our neighbors, Neil and Ann, were having their Christmas Open House.  They thought they were invited.

These two were near Spring Creek Road having Sunday morning brunch.  At the same time we had a cow and a calf visiting us in our field. 

Then later in the day, just as we were leaving for the open house, this calf was in our yard. 

When Maggie saw him, she growled and barked like we had never heard before.  She was ready to get after that moose.  We didn't let her go after him as we were sure mama moose was out there somewhere.  It was all Retired Mtn. Man could do to hold onto Maggie and keep her from taking off.

The calf slowly walked off to the open house and had a few snacks there.  We did too.  Great food, wassail, wine and some music later.  What a nice day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

We have the tree, we measured it, cut if off twice to get it to fit in the living room, and got the stand on it.  Then out come the dozens of boxes of lights, ornaments, garland.......The entire living room is covered with assorted boxes and bags!  Yikes!  What a mess, but the tree is starting to look good.  Then I made the mistake of making a comment to Retired Mountain Man, "You know, since we have the new TV and it is so light, we could move the TV and put the tree in the corner".  We both thought about it for a second and then we walked over and looked behind the television set at the entanglement of wires on the floor.  We looked at each other and both shook our heads, "nope".  Bad idea.

You see, the entanglement of wires behind our television set has been there for thirty-one years.  Yep.  It has haunted every member of the family.  No one wants to deal with it.  As the years went by and more new technology arrived at our house, thanks mostly to our techno geek sons, (we have to blame it on someone), the entanglement grew.  There are wires to the TV, VCR, DVD player, stereo receiver, CD player, surround sound speakers, regular speakers, the weather station and the scanner.  It was like having our own monster behind the TV.  Our sons grew up, left home and said to themselves, "Whew!  I don't have to deal with the monster anymore.

Well, once I have an idea, I can't let go of it.  The tree is decorated and in the middle of the livingroom.  At 10:30 p.m. (Retired Mtn. Man is already asleep, it's better that way)  -  I decided that the monster had to go.  Nothing to it!  By midnight I had the whole thing apart, moved the tree into the corner and setup the TV and accessories in a different spot.

Ta da!

Oh Christmas Tree

It has taken me awhile to get to posting on the blog.  Retired Mountain Man and I, with Mollie and Maggie to help us out, set out yesterday to cut down our tree.  As you know, once you have the tree then the real fun begins.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

Here we all are setting off to the field to get the tree.

 Taking down the rails at the gate.  Maggie is helping.

 Where is it?  Which one is it?  Am I even close?

 Can you see Retired Mountain Man in this photo?  He is sawing down the tree.  He loves doing it!

Just look at that "bah, humbug" smile on his face.  "What now?"  You're going to take another picture?  Geez!

And we're off!

 Getting the Christmas tree here is the real deal.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The hunt for the Burkhart Christmas tree.

Yesterday Retired Mtn. Man and I went on a search for our Christmas Tree.  This tree is at the corner of the driveway.  It's a possibility, but a it's little on the skimpy side.

We searched all over the hillsides and finally ended up finding one in our field.

 Ta Da!  This is the one!

Tomorrow we find the handsaw and make the "trek" to cut it down.  (You can see it when you look at our front window.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December in Montana

We drove to Kalispell to visit Jamie and Melissa and the grandkids.  This is a photo of the moon the night of the lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, we were not up early enough to see the eclipse.  We stayed up too late visiting with the kids.

The moon photo was taken as we were approaching Marion, Montana.

Then we drove to Missoula to visit Griz Eileen, Runaway Roy, my sister, Kathy and their spouses.  Next, we were off to Victor, Montana to see Dave and Julie and little Ben.  We had a great time with everyone!

We had to head back home and hoped that our puppies have not driven the neighbors to put their house up for sale.

These photos were taken along the the Flathead River on Hwy 200.

There was just a dusting of snow and the low cloud formations looked like puffs of smoke.

There's never a dull moment while driving in Montana.

 Hey!  Don't fence me in.  It won't work.

We know we are getting close to home when we can see Star Peak Lookout.