The rain, it cometh

The Badlands tend to give one the connotation of a desert like environment.  And, it does seem that way often.  After all, the sioux gave the land the name.  The word “Makoshika” translates to bad earth.  And yet, it is beautiful. No matter the season.  No matter the weather.

You’ve seen my pictures from spring, from summer and winter. So far, however, no fall.  Yet, today was the first opportunity to capture a storm approaching from the west from atop the peaks of the hills inside Makoshika.

There are one or two pics with blue sky.  The rest?  The sky is dark, dark gray; almost black by the time the storm hit.

I didn’t wait on top of the peaks for the storm as the roads back down are fearsome to drive when wet.  Still, enjoy the photos.  Makoshika takes my breath away every time I go.  Or walk out my door and look up at the cliffs.  Or happen upon the horses loosed to graze there.  Even when it is only there backsides and they are waving goodbye with their tails…

Hopefully, the beauty fills your heart with a smile.  Enjoy!

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It may be fair time if…..

The roads are congested by cattle carriers, or there are more cowboys than usual walking around downtown, or the fair ground is alive with the sound of laughter!

Indeed it is fair time.  And here in the land of farmers, ranchers and cowboys, here is just a taste of what you are missing by not being here.

Kudos to the Dawson County Fair Board (specifically Connie Hilger) on a Fantabulous job!!!!!

For those I have not yet run into and/or met around town, please stop and introduce yourselves to me during the last two days of the fair!

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Am I Back In Texas?

This weekend, I had brief flashbacks to Texas.  Well, actually the Interstates in Texas. Specifically, commutes on the Interstates in Texas.

I mean, I saw this every day on during the I-30 5:00-hundred: IMG_0200 copy

Or during the daily transit of the I-20 6:00-hundred…IMG_0232 copy

Or on any trip through or anywhere near Charlotte!

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Then again, sometimes when travelling down life’s highways, we find a treat that brings on a heart-smile: a wishing well full of just what we would wish for!

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Or we may be on a trip and find reasons to count our blessings.  For example, I am thankful that I have never crossed paths with a dentist using THIS drill.  IMG_0007 copyNow THAT is a drill!

And, of course, we sometimes come across something riding through life that brings back happy childhood memories.  All my Pinehurst peeps may remember one very similar to this back on Mr. Sally’s private village behind his house on Short Road.  Raise your hands if you do:

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Other days, we just have so many reason to be happy.  It’s a wonder that more of us aren’t jumping for joy over all the blessings that we have:

There are days that life, seemingly, throws us for a loop.  Those days, we do our best and just hang on for dear life:

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Other times, we are just happy to be surrounded by our toys and have the opportunity to play with them:IMG_0194(copy)

The best days, however, are those days the Good Lord takes us to our Happy Places. And now, I have another place (besides the beach) where I am content, happy and at peace just by being, breathing and soaking it all in:

Life is full of gifts and opportunities and moments to cherish and treasure.  These are some of mine.  You have some, as well, right?

Why Do I Love Montana?

That is the one question that I get over and over. I could say that it’s just a great place to live. Or that the people are great. How about there are tons of things to do?  Places to go?  Fresh air.  Wide open space.  Great speed limits.

But none of those seem to get the point across.

And so, without going into details, here is what my weekend consisted of.  As I hope you can see, there is something for everyone! But it’s not just any one thing… Montana is a state of mind.  Can you see it?

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Supermoon Over The Badlands

Supermoon Over The Badlands

Every full moon is a glorious sight.  A supermoon even more so. But a supermoon over the badlands?  Well, judge for yourselves.  Photos are a bit grainy since I was trying to keep it light enough to actually see the badlands.  It is what it is.  There are a few bonus photos taken while I was feeding the mosquitoes and waiting for the moon to appear…

Just sit back and enjoy!

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Montana, Part II: Badlands

Well, I cannot  complain about how the day started.  Not a cloud in the sky.  By the time I hit the road, the clouds were gathering, however.  Still the raindrops kept the temperatures down.

On the bright side, by the time I reached the Badlands, it was picture perfect weather.  Not a bad view to live in the midst of, is it?

Well, no words can do justice so just enjoy the photos.  Oh, by the way, I finally found that home on the range…  LOL!!!

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Montana, Part II: Windblown

Well, awoke to nasty dark and stormy looking clouds.  Pretty much what has hit this area for the last two days….

SO, I needed the smile I got when I saw this sign and thought of my favorite German.  :)IMG_0013

 

It always does a body good to soak up some sunshine, inhale fresh clean air tempered by the smell of “fertilizer” on fields of crops and think of all the hard working farmers that support and feed this country!

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After two very long days of watching all manner of RVs on the road (including two teardrop trailers) I finally found a classic Airstream.  This is for all you Airstream fans and aficionados out there.  :)

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I love to look for interesting and fascinating things along the way.  This trip, I have been trying to find anything to look at besides orange cones and work signs signalling traffic delays.  How’s this?

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Pretty as a picture, isn’t it?  It was a beautiful day for part of the trip.  Ended up with rain and VERY strong winds.  But, enjoyed these moments:

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This was near the very end of today’s journey.  The sky was dark but the very dark strip was a line of one VERY dark cloud.  I was able to snap it only because traffic was at a standstill for a serious accident.

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And now?  Rest and thinking forward to being “home” tomorrow!

Montana, Part II: I Hit Missouri

Yes, I did!  I showed them.  Missouri, that is.  I aimed for them.  Hit them, too.  Twice!  :)

Started the day in Kentucky and ventured into lower Indiana and Illinois.  Than came Missouri.  I managed to cross the Missouri River three times.  Nice to see it again.  And again.  And again…

Got to the the arch in St. Louis for the first time since I left Fayetteville, Arkansas.  That, and the fancy bridge.  You would have enjoyed pics right?  Meant to get them.  But, I didn’t.  Was too busy driving and sightseeing.  Next time?

Anyway, from there, all the way across Missouri into Kansas just long enough to say, “Toto, we’re back!” and then I wasn’t there anymore.  I was back showing Missouri.  LOL!!

And there I still am tonight.  I landed in St. Joseph for the evening.  11 hours.  11 LONG hours behind the wheel.  Had mac ‘n cheese.  A nice, hot shower.  Something cold to drink.  And now, I bid you a good night.  Until tomorrow…when… if I can find it – I shall return to visit my friends in Fargo, ND.  This time without the blizzard.  And frozen engine.  And train derailment.  Maybe…  ;)

Montana, Part II: Deja Vu

Yep, we are on the road again.  Once again, Montana is the destination.

At least it’s warmer this time.  And, so far, I haven’t been nearly as warm this time as I was cold last time.

It’s all still the same; only different.  Last time, the trees were bare and as the trip progressed, the roads were icy and/or snow covered.  Oh yes, and let’s not forget “the blizzard.”  Don’t give up hope for drama just yet.  Just heard on the news that we are in line for possible tornadoes tonight from the system that spawned twin tornadoes in Nebraska last night.  Yeehaw!

 

But one thing that has not changed?  Road work and delays.  Two mile before the Virginia Stat Line, traffic came to a standstill as two lanes dwindled to one.  As you can see from the picture, I was still at a near standstill when I reached the entrance to the welcome center.  Oh no!  I was not giving up my place in line!  About two more miles down the line, we started moving again.  At least until the next road work project.

 

And, I had forgotten all the Triple X billboards in West Virginia.  Not only do they jump out at you all the way through the state, we have to pay to travel the toll road and see them.  Cost $8 to see things I had no desire to see…

And now I am in a no-smoking hotel room in a no-smoking hotel inhaling someone’s cigarette smoke.  Yep, the more things change, the more they stay the same…

Well, until tomorrow, this is us from somewhere in the Bluegrass State.  :)

Salt Marsh Lessons

Salt Marsh Lessons

From the Lizard Hunter

Salt Marshes.  A fertile ground for wildlife.  An unlimited source for education, both serious and amusing.  And, lessons from the intrepid and determined Lizard Hunter.  So buckle up cause here we go!

Salt Marshes are home to some incredible wildlife.  Herons, osprey, oysters, fish and more.  Herons live in or near the marshes and depend upon them for their food.  Same with ospreys.  If one is in the habit of looking up, not just around or down, there is a better than even chance of sighting an osprey’s nest in a tree top.

Salt marshes are also the home for oysters.  Oysters are one of natures vacuum cleaners.  They clean the water and the marsh of pollution from all sources.  Unfortunately, much like pigs, they have simple stomachs.  What does this mean?  For those who dine on the little creatures, one is dining on whatever the oyster ate.  So, stop picking on me about my junk-filled diet if you eat oysters, okay?  LOL!

Sadly, the marshes are also home to salt marsh snails.  According to Brown University Research, Brian Silliman, “Snails can transform healthy marsh to mudflats in a matter of months.  This finding represents a huge shift in the way we see salt marsh ecology. For years, scientists thought marsh die-off was simply a ‘bottom-up’ problem related solely to soil conditions. We found that the trouble also comes from the top down. Drought makes the marsh vulnerable, then the snails move in.”

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Sadly, therefore, man is not the only danger to salt marshes which are necessary habitats for much of the wildlife near our coasts.

Also found in and around the marshy areas are all things that slither and scurry along the ground.  One of those would be the American Chameleon also known as the Carolina Chameleon.

As a student of the fearless Lizard Hunter, we have been educating ourselves on said chameleon.  For example, the male of the species measures between 5 – 8 inches.  More than half of that, however, is tail.  The female is smaller.

The male has a red dewlap while the females is white.  The chameleon enlarges its dewlap frequently during mating season.  This may also be a means for the chameleon to make itself appear larger as a defense mechanism. Its best known defense mechanism is its ability to change colors.  The color can change from a lush, rich green to various shades of brown in a matter of moments.

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Trust me (and the Lizard Hunter), once the color has changed, it is very difficult to find one hidden in a bush or even on a brick wall until it moves.

Here you see the dauntless Lizard Hunter zeroing in on a chameleon deep in the bush.  And, if one looks closely, a glimpse of a brown chameleon may be seen hiding in plain sight on a branch.

Well, this lesson has been brief.  Hopefully, it has been entertaining as well as educational.  We must return to our posts and be on guard against an attack by an army of chameleons.  So, until next time, a fond adieu from the Intrepid Lizard Hunter and yours truly!  Good day!