29 August 2010

Huckleberries-Montana Caviar

I'm not a big fan of fruit. I like it alright but if given the choice I would rather eat vegetables. So when I moved to Montana and heard people extolling the virtues of wild huckleberries the subject got a big yawn from me. When I found out how tiny the little dickens are and  how long it takes to get an edible portion I was even less impressed.

Then one fall day Koty and I were out exploring around up near Terriault Pass in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area. As we were driving up to the trailhead we spied an elderly gentleman rummaging around in the bushes. I though he might be a huckleberry hunter so I stopped and went to where the man was toiling. When I asked what he was doing, sure enough he was picking wild huckleberries. The man asked if I had ever had them and I answered in the negative. He insisted that I try some. Well, I instantly knew what all the hubbub was about. The little critters are to die for, no kidding. even Koty gobbles them up.

I'm not a fan of jams and jellies either but the other day Costco had some huckleberry jam right their at the front entrance where they try to snag you into an impulse purchase. Snag me they did. I had not seen the price as low anywhere and could not resist trying a couple of jars. Oh, big mistake!

The product they were selling comes from a Kalispell company Huckleberry Haven.

So, for breakfast I decided to give the jam a test drive on my favorite toast Orowheat's Health Nut Bread. Oh, my! The term ambrosia comes to mind. It's really not like jam. It's more like caviar, lots of little berries, the size of fish eggs, with a little natural sauce.

You can have your beluga. Montana caviar is better by far! If you ever get the chance you really must try it. I can practically guarantee you wish you hadn't .... because you'll want more and it is a little spendy (a mountain term), but lots cheaper than beluga though. :)

When I was photographing the above I got to admiring my dining room table so I'm throwing that photo in too. Perspective is off but short of getting out a ladder this was the best I could do. I find that whilst eating the setting is just as important as the food.

So, set yourself a lovely table and try some Montana caviar. It's the bomb!

PS: Koty came through his little surgery like the champ he is and the growth was benign.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

22 August 2010

Railcar Graffiti

Koty had to go in to town for bloodwork on Friday. He's having a growth removed from his gum and his teeth cleaned. Afterwards we went over to the Kootenai Trail and walked along the Tobacco River. The trail begins in the trainyard.

What follows are a few of the box cars we found on the siding with graffiti painted on them. Some fairly creative stuff.

As always I marvel at the creative urge that seems to abound in human nature.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

16 August 2010

Dickey Lake-Montana

Last Friday I decided to take my kayak and paddle around Dickey Lake. Dickey Lake is one of my favorite lakes, mostly because of the incredible color of the water. And the color is constantly changing depending on the light.

Dickey Lake

When I first moved to this area most of the houses looked more like this property.

But, thanks to the strengthening of the Canadian dollar and high energy prices we have been invaded by Albertans and the houses now look more like this .....

It is trully amazing what eight short years have done to this sleepy little valley. N'est pas? Below are a few more lovely properties that can be found along Dickey's shores.

Below is another view of the same property. Everyone has lots of toys. Eight years ago you would seldom see anyone on Dickey but these days people are riding  their jet skis and boats speed about with water skiers in tow. It has become quite the playground. This place had something I'd never seen before. It was an inflated ring with chair like seats so people could have a community soak whilst perhaps enjoying a little toddy? (Look at the above photo to see the seats)

My last offering is a back to nature shot of a very lovely willow that grows right along the shore.

It was a great day for a kayak trip and you could not beat the scenery. Dickey does have one drawback, one that would preclude me from ever wanting a property here, It's right on highway 93 and you get to watch and hear traffic all day long. That sort of thing doesn't seem to bother a lot of people but it would drive me nuts. I have to have my serenity. But, as a place to go play, it's way cool!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

14 August 2010

Butterflies Are Free

Butterflies ARE free as are most things that have true beauty and meaning. Too bad we have become such a materialistic society because I think most people miss the really special things in their mindless pursuit of meaningless things.

Anyway, I thought I'd post a selection of butterfly images because butterflies are such beautiful creatures.

I'm not certain the specie of this little beauty sitting on wild daisies.

You're on your own with this one too as I don't have time this morning to get the ident.

This one I know, Tiger-Swallowtail as are the next two.

I was just fooling around with this one making almost but not quite a black and white.

This last photo I found whilst cleaning out a closet. Not a thing a beauty and about thirty five years old. It's a photo of moi competing in a bareback equitation class circa 1965.

If anyone wants to jump in with the names of the butterflies please feel free to do so or just enjoy their beauty without putting a label on them.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

11 August 2010



When I was a kid my father used to take me packing into the High Sierras. The night before we headed out was spent at Silver Lake, which was surrounded by Aspen. My first trip was when I was five years old and my father would tell me they were "quaking" aspen and a bunch of stories about them that I don't remember. Those were the days when my love of the mountains was born.

So, today I'm thinking of aspens so here are some photos of these marvelous trees.

The above was taken on a cattle ranch here in northwest Montana.

This photo was taken in the West Kootenai, along  Big Creek where the trees intermingle with cottonwoods, cedar and mountain maple.

Even their trunks make for interesting viewing. This photo is of an old wound that is now hosting some lichen riders. I love these natural designs.

This is another example of aspen bark hosting lichen. I find this extraordinarily beautiful.

But, of course, the thing aspen are most noted for is their annual fall performance when they single handedly turn the landscape into a riot of color. This photograph was taken at Banff National Park Alberta Canada.

This little copse was standing on the Shore of Dickey Lake which is a the entrance to the Tobacco Valley.

This last image is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a Monet painting. It was taken at Surveyor Lake, Kikomun Provincial Park, British Columbia. Check out "Monet Aspen" and all my paintings on water canvas.

Be sure and visit The Liberated Photographer

©Kinsey Barnard

09 August 2010



I love clouds! I can just sit and watch them almost endlessly. Clouds are alive. They take as many forms as the imagination can conjure.

For some reason clouds are on my mind so I thought I'd post a few photos of them. It seems to me that looking at them, even on a computer screen, has a kind of calming effect on the psyche.

The clouds above (pardon the pun) were flying high above the desert near the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. They remind me of ocean surf.

These next clouds were scudding across the plains on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.

Back to the desert this cloud looks like it's own kind of tornado. The photo was taken at Saguaro National Park near Tucson Arizona.

This last image is a reflection of clouds on the harbor at Coos Bay, Oregon.

Next time you see some interesting clouds stop and really take a good look at them. I think you'll really enjoy yourself as they can literally take you away. And, who doesn't need a little away time these days?

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

05 August 2010



Brule, pronounced bru-ley is not a new Native American music group but it is to me and certainly is awesome.

On my way back from the Blackfeet Pow wow I stopped in at Montana Fur Trading and heard this music playing in the background. I bot the CD and forgot about it until yesterday when I finally cranked it up on my stereo. Oh my goodness what a treat.

The group has released a number of CD's

The one I stumbled on is called Star People. If you like things Native American and instrumental music I think you'll love Brule.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

04 August 2010

Fiber Optics-Rural Utilities

When I purchased my Valhalla eight years ago I expected that I would have to give up some of the technological conveniences of the "other world".  Living, as I do, on a unmaintained, single track Forest Service road in the Kootenai National Forest. I wasn't even sure I would have much in the way of internet service. But, I didn't care. The property that I purchased was so incredible any convenience sacrifice was acceptable. I soon discovered that I was able to have as good internet service as I had in Durango, CO. Frankly, I was amazed.

Welcome to the world of rural, co-op utilities. Believe me, it's a whole new world. People come running when you have trouble and I mean right now. But, even more amazing is the way they maintain and upgrade equipment. The past few weeks Inter-bel, my phone co-operative, has been bringing fiber optics to my mountain!

When I first learned of this I wasn't any to excited as it appeared they would be digging up all over my property. I even told the fellow who came to map out a line route that I was perfectly happy with things as they were. I was informed if I didn't get on board I would eventually have no service as the old copper lines were to be eventually abandoned.  I was assured that everything would be returned to it's original condition. I was thinking "Yeah, sure, where have I heard that before!"

Going Where Mountain Goats Fear To Tread
A few weeks ago I heard the dread sound of heavy equipment moving up the mountain. Without going into all the details it was a traumatic couple of weeks but now that it's all done I can't help but be impressed not only with my phone co-operative but with the company they contracted with to do the work, Track Utilities out of Meridian, Idaho.

Laying The Cable

Not only am I now wired for fiber optics but my property is none the worse for the wear. Oh, there were some rough spots like when they up rooted my fence trying to avoid cutting old lines. I nearly threw a fit. Well, actually, I did throw a fit. As luck would have it Shane Mace,  owner of Track, was there and assured me everything would be fixed good as new and it was. Not only was Shane often seen working side by side with his men but he also turned out to be a man of his word. Where do you find that anymore? Here's a man who leads by example and a more professional bunch I have not run into in a very long time.

And, hats off to Inter-Bel for having the foresight and pluck to get this project on the board. And, for choosing the absolute right contractor to get the job done.

Like I keep saying "God, how I love Montana!"

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

02 August 2010

Kootenai National Forest - Montana

Yesterday Koty and I took a good long hike up the Blacktail Trail. The wild flowers this year are the best I have ever seen here. It must be the cool weather and lots of moisture.

Bluebell and Lichen


Indian Paintbrush