30 August 2009


This was my least favorite kind of week. Two trips to Kalispell. Kalispell is about 75 miles from my place and the nearest place to do any shopping or get things done that can't be done in Eureka. This time of year it's too hot to take Koty and that makes it even less pleasant.

The first trip was to get Clementine serviced. I was told it would take about two hours so I set off on foot to get a little lunch and explore. The Stillwater runs right through this part of town.


I thought I might get myself a hamburger at Burger King which, unfortunately, I did. My favorite fast food hamburgers are at In and Out and Carl's neither of which are to be found in Kalispell. You won't find an In and Out in the whole state I don't think. Anyway, I got a hamburger and fries and it was just awful. The french fry oil was rancid and the meat, well Koty would probably not have eaten it. I'd avoid this place if you are ever in Kalispell looking for a burger.

On my way back across the Stillwater I looked down the embankment and saw this sign that said "Junkyard Art" so I decided to investigate. What I found was Wayne Hill and Sparky's Designs. Wayne takes what others would call junk and turns it into lawn art. He's done some pretty creative things. Wayne gave me permission to take snaps of some of his creations.




The titles I made up. Wayne no doubt has his own more creative monikers. Flathead readers may run into Wayne and his creations at local fairs and farmers markets. Seems like a great way to recycle. I am forever fascinated by the human drive to create.

The second trip to Kalispel was a real quickie, in and out with no burger! I had to go for an eye exam. My mother had glaucoma and they say it's hereditary. They also say there are no symptoms a person can notice on their own. Detected in time there is no problemo. As a photographer protecting my eyesight is job one!


We did, of course, find time for some hikes for exercise if nothing else. We made a couple of trips up the mountain. For those who may not know, the 49th parallel is the line of demarcation between the U.S. and Canada.


On the way up we stopped in at an old mine shaft. Early last spring we stopped by this same shaft and had an interesting experience. I am not a real fan of going into dark tunnels but Koty has no such fears. I walked up to the mouth of the cave and let him go in to the length of his retractable leash. No sooner did he disappear into the dark than I heard a growl emanate from the tunnel. Koty immediately tried to drag me in with him. NO WAY! I hauled him out and beat a hasty retreat.

There was still snow on the ground at that time and no discernible tracks at the mouth of the tunnel so I really don't know what it was. But, my guess is it was a bear. For some reason Koty was not so anxious to go in this time. :)


I find the border a fascinating site. In the above photo you can see it's quite an aerobic exercise to climb up the mountain to this spot. However, there is a switchback trail that makes it a little easier. It takes us just about two hours to get here, from the house, without stopping.

And, of course, no outing is complete without trying to catch Koty in it.


©Kinsey Barnard

23 August 2009


Things were pretty tranquil around the ranch this week. The usual visits by the whitetail. I have seen a couple of mule deer and that is a sure sign that fall is in the air.




The Tobacco Valley is divided by Lake Koocanusa. On the west side is what is called the West Kootenai. It's mostly Kootenai National Forest but there is an Amish settlement there. We decided to take a drive over in that direction to see what we might find.


On the way we stopped at Sullivan Creek which is still running good despite the lateness of the season.



The area is quite picturesque sporting bucolic and pastoral (that's redundant) scenes. Unfortunately, this day was pretty much cloudless and uninteresting from a photographic pint of view. I really am not a fan of summer when it comes to photography. Photography is all about light and summertime offers the least interesting light in my opinion. Although, I'm sure plenty would argue that point.



For quite some time I have been wanting to replace the stool I use in my mudroom to put my boots on. The one I have been using is over forty years old and about to collapse. I have looked everywhere for a replacement but all I could find were bar stools.

I figured since I was in the neighborhood I would stop in at Montana Woodworks and have them just make me one. It's quite handy to have them close by. They make really lovely log furniture and you may have seen it at Costco. They ship all over the country.



After leaving the village we took a hike up the Lower Sullivan Creek Trail. I was hoping it would take us along the creek but it took us straight up the mountain. There was very little to shoot. There were lots of signs of Fall though. Won't be long now.



16 August 2009


Most of this week was spent on a driveway repair project. I didn’t do it! I had a contractor come in and take care of it.

If you live on the wet side of a mountain range you can expect to get more than your fair share of precipitation. We live in such a place. When we get what I call a “gully washer” we can get and inch of rain in less than a half an hour. If you have a driveway that has a pretty good pitch down, which we also have, you can expect over time some problems. We got those.

The contractor moved his equipment in on Monday and away we went. I had to stick around to watch progress but they were usually gone by 3:00 or 4:00. That’s when Koty and I headed out to the forest.

Mother Nature can wash you away or she can regale you with wonder. One thing I admire so much is how she does not overload you with all Her flowers in one fast lot. No she meats them out. Each month, she waves Her wand and a different variety has its moment to strut its stuff. In our wanderings here on the mountain we came across these beautiful sights.




It truly is a luxury to be able to take off into the wild on foot right from your home. And, more to be able to wander in those wild places for hours and never see a single human. Some of the views up here are to die for. We did most of our walking in the rain. I like to photograph in the rain. The color saturation is just yummy.


It took three days and four pieces of equipment to get the driveway fixed up. We waved goodbye to them Wednesday afternoon. It was not long before some of my extended family came to investigate. They seemed to approve.





Have I mentioned already this has been the coolest summer since I moved here seven years ago? Well, it has. The thermometer has not broken 100 once this summer, normally we get at least seven to ten days of it, usually in July. This week we’ve been mostly in the 70’s. Also unusual has been the rain pattern. Normally our rainiest month is June but this year July and August have been the wet ones.

On Friday we had one of those gully washers and a hailstorm. The temperature dropped to 45 in a nano second and it looked like it had snowed. Actually, this storm was very fortuitous for me. I was able to find out how my new drainage system would perform and get it corrected if need be. There were some issues but the guys were out here on Saturday to make the necessary corrections.


I like stormy weather. I like walking in the rain. I like thunder and lightening. Koty likes the first two but not the thunder so much. When we’re in the house he comes and sits by my side. When we are out in it his passion for roaming seems to overcome his fear. And, lucky dog, his coat is so thick he can just shake the water off whilst I become a drowned rat.

Stormy weather also brings with it photographic rewards and below are some images that I think kind of capture the drama.




This week I also wrote a story about my first car on the Musings and Memories blog. It was in 1966 and I think it kind of captures how different things are today. If you would like to read it you can find here ....MY FIRST CAR

That’s it for us this week.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

09 August 2009


There were two major events this week, one kind of sad and one quite exhilarating.

The sad one was, Friday marked the seventh anniversary of my mother's passing. I was compelled to write something about my feelings on my other blog "Musings and Memories". I didn't advertise it because it was really just me indulging myself. If you would like to read it you can find it here ... REMEMBERING LADY JANE.

The exhilarating moment happened early Tuesday morning. It was a glorious summer morning. I could not resist taking Koty for a walk in our forest. One of the especially nice things about having acreage is you can walk a long time and never leave your property. To give you a visual of how much of a beautiful morning it was I took this photo of my "Walden Pond".


I call it Walden Pond because I am a very big fan of Thoreau and my time here kind of reminds me of his at Walden Pond. The big difference being he was only at his for two or three years I've been here seven and have no desire to ever leave.

Back to the "big" moment. Koty and I were walking along just enjoying being when I caught movement up ahead. Sure enough two cubs were scampering up a tree. My first thought was "Uh, oh, where's mama bear?" Bears with cubs are about as dangerous as moose and their babies. The grass was quite tall where we were standing and no sooner than I had the thought the mama rose up out of the grass right in front of us. That is the first time I've ever been close to a standing bear. I said in a quiet voice, "Pardon me, mama" and slowly backed away. She just stood there and watched us leave. It's a good thing Koty is always on a leash or the outcome could have been quite different. As it was, this was another moment never to be forgotten. The kind of moments we live for. The kind that let you know you are alive!


We didn't take any particular trip this week. Too much work to do at the ranch and there's plenty of images to capture right here. I don't know what kind of spider this is but I thought it interesting.


As usual there was a steady parade of deer passing by. These guys were standing just off the front deck and I was wanting to test my zoom lens just back from Nikon repair. Seems to be working again. Something had run acropper with the contacts.


About two minutes after the deer passed by along came a mother turkey and her little brood. I say little because four isn't all that many. I have often seen mothers with a dozen or more. The coyotes have been awful this year and all mother's have had a hard time protecting their young.



I always find these tree fungus to be beautiful. It is a never ending fascination to me that something so mundane can be so intriguingly beautiful.


Of course, we did have to make our obligatory trip to town to pick up the mail. There is no mail service here so we must to drive into town to get it. But, even a drive to town offers up interesting and beautiful sights. The above photo is of logs being loaded at the ranch below us. You may remember we had a nasty wind storm awhile back? Rumor has it this rancher lost over one thousand trees. And, lost is the appropriate word. Even though they are shipping them out they'll be getting bottom dollar for them.


A little farther down the road I found this bucolic scene. I tell you it's tough not to experience beauty around here. It's simply everywhere.

And last, but certainly not least, the most beautiful wild thing on this ranch!


So, that was our week around the ranch. Hope you had a great week too!


02 August 2009


It continues to be rather warm here in Northwest Montana so when I was conjuring up a little photographic junket my thoughts ran to a “secret” place I discovered a several years ago. It will become clear why I use parens around the word secret a little later on.

As mentioned before, I am not a big fan of the heat. Whilst pondering somewhere to go I thought of Island Lake in British Columbia near Fernie in the Kootenai Rockies. Sounds like a big junket but for us it’s less than an hour’s drive. Unless someone told you about it you probably wouldn’t find it. Since my stock in trade is to drive down every road I have not traveled before, I find stuff.

On the way up I stopped to try and photograph this old barn but the power lines were everywhere so things didn't work out.

Along the road to Fernie

Whilst I was trying this little fellow came by to see what I was up to. There was a time when horses were my whole world and they still make my old heart go pitter-patter.

Peanut gallery

Out standing in their field

To get to Island Lake you drive through a Provincial Park and an 800 year old cedar forest. I’m uncertain as to the elevation gain but it is quite considerable, making it ideal for getting away from the heat. The drive was really gorgeous this day as the wildflowers were out in force.

Wildflower Bouquet

Meadows of Flowers

Giant Cedars and Wildflowers

Once you get up to the top you discover a beautiful lodge where you can stay if you are so inclined. There is also a restaurant that serves lunch. The fare is fairly stoic and spendy. Koty and I are more the eat in the woods sort so we packed a little lunch to eat on the trail.

Island Lake Lodge

And trails there are aplenty, which is the real reason we like this place. Well, that and the fact it is so gorgeous and peaceful.

Island Lake

One can wander around all day on the trails. It was so cool and beautiful that's exactly what we did!

Kootenai Rockies

Now to get back to the reason I put parens around the word secret. As we were driving back down the mountain we pulled over to let a car pass and since we both had our windows down we stopped to chat. The gals in the car, both from Fernie, advised me that Island Lake had been listed in National Geographics June issue of Traveler as one of the top places on the planet to stay. Island Lake Lodge

Thank goodness it doesn't seem to have changed things much. There were only about five cars in the lot and the trails remained relatively empty. It's always been a special place to me and I would recommend it highly to anyone looking for natural beauty galore and serenity.

This next bit it not so serene but I find the photographs to be extraordinary so
I’ll leave you today with these images of Krakatoa erupting. Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature scorned. Krakatoa Erupting

Whist doing a little research on Krakatoa I came across this painting by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.

The Scream by Edvard Munch circa 1883

Some theorize the painting was a depiction of the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. Actually, I think it quite accurately depicts my reaction to what the current administration is doing to this country. No joke.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography