31 December 2011


As another year draws to a close I can look back and say, with conviction, it was a wonderful year. I attribute that primarily to my being able to live here in the Kootenai Forest in Montana. I am rich beyond measure because I am surrounded by such incredible and exquisite natural beauty. Every day is a new adventure. None of it costs me a thing.

My wish for my friends and fans is that you find peace, health and happiness in the coming year. No matter where you live there is natural beauty to be found if you but look for it. Seek out beauty and let it fill your senses. That is Mother Nature's perpetual gift to you. Accept the gift!

I hope to be able to provide new and beautiful nature photographs for your enjoyment. Maybe a good story or two. And, of course, a few opinions on things.

I have made some wonderful friends through this blog. I value friendship greatly. Of all the photos I have taken the one below is the one that most touches my heart when I think of friends and friendship. Lets all look back over our shoulders for those who may need a helping hand. Let's touch noses and show our support for one another in the coming year!


©Kinsey Barnard Photography

27 December 2011


The end of the year always seems to make one reflective. I think as one gets older you just get more reflective regardless of the time of year. I recently took a photograph of an old abandoned GMC truck. That photograph and the end of the year thing got me to thinking about my first car which was also a General Motors product, the Chevy El Camino.

My father made a deal with me that he would match whatever I could come up with to buy my first car. From the time I earned my first nickel I was a saver. My allowance, back in those days, was two bits (twenty five cents) a week.

I grew up on a ranch near a small no more town called Ventura. Ventura is about thirty miles south of Santa Barbara and sixty miles north of Los Angles on the California coast. In those days the area was mostly agricultural. Today all that beautiful, rich soil has been paved over to sprout houses. The climate was and still is as close to perfect as you could get and it seems people prefer melanomas to melons.

I earned some of my money picking one crop or another. The crop picking memory that sticks in my head involved walnuts. When I was about ten a school chum offered me a “get rich quick” scheme, or so I thought. Her family owned walnut orchards and it was harvest time. She told me we could earn five dollars for every bag of walnuts we picked. In the early sixties five bucks was big money. I figured I ought to be able to get at least a couple of bags in a day. Ten or fifteen dollars for a day’s wages, that was just too good to be true. Of course I knew nothing about picking walnuts, my family was in citrus and avocados.

I certainly learned about picking walnuts that day. The walnuts were shaken out of the tree onto the ground so they had to be picked up. A good number of the nuts hadn’t shed their outer shell so those had to be shucked. There is something in those outer skins that stains your hands a ghastly yellow. And, those bags were really big. By the end of our backbreaking day my friend and I had managed to fill one bag between us. Our fingers looked like we had been smokers for at least a hundred years! Not surprisingly, that was my first and last stint as a walnut picker.

In 1960 my grandmother passed away. She left me 100 shares of AT&T. Unlike today, in those days companies paid dividends and management answered to them. Nowadays shareholders take all the risk and the executives pay themselves lavish salaries instead of dividends. One hundred shares of stock don’t seem like much today but back then those shares paid me $240 per year in dividends. That was huge for a kid my age. Unlike today, back then, savers were rewarded. I had never heard the word compounding” but compound I did. It just seemed like the smart thing to do.

By the time I was seventeen I had saved up $1,300 dollars and I knew exactly what I wanted. From the time I was a very little girl I loved horses and was riding one as soon as I was allowed. Originally, I thought I needed a pickup to haul my tack in. But then I discovered the Chevrolet El Camino. It was love at first sight. The best of both worlds, it was a car with a bed. Perfect! Now that was a bed for hauling equipment lest you get the wrong idea.

I think my father was somewhat dismayed when I announced I had saved up $1,300 and was ready to buy my new car. Now, he had to cough up his share. You probably think $1,300 is no big deal but you would be wrong. In today’s dollars it’s probably more like $10,000.

I’ll never forget the evening my father said, “Let’s go see about that car”. I was so excited. We headed off down Telegraph Road to Fillmore and William L. “Chappy” Morris Chevrolet. The dealership still exists today but Chappy is no longer with us.

Walking into the lit up showroom was exciting in itself. But, to be there to pick out my new car, well that was beyond the beyond. When I say, “pick out” I don’t mean wander around a huge lot looking for a needle in a haystack. I mean looking at a catalog and choosing the paint, the seat covers, the carpet, the engine, the transmission and other options. General Motors took that order and made that car just for me, just the way I wanted it and it cost just $2,600.

When you hear people talking about how our standard of living has gone down so much in the last forty years I think this story really illustrates what they are talking about. For $2,600 GM promised me the moon and they delivered. I don’t think there is an equivalent on the market today. But if there were a similar car/truck you’d most likely pay ten times as much and have to take what was on the lot.

My father could have easily just given me the car but he always insisted that his children work for what they got. This was not a bad thing. I learned self-reliance. Self-reliance is equivalent to freedom. I never thought I had to depend on a man for my survival as most women of my era did. It simply never occurred to me I couldn’t provide for myself. Most women were trained to believe they had to have a provider. Now that I think about it I need to be thanking my father for being such a “jerk”.

Back in the sixties people saved to buy what they wanted. We didn’t take things for granted and we really appreciated what we got. It seems, thanks to Madison Avenue, in the last twenty years people have gone berserk with credit. They have bought everything they wanted when they wanted it without having earned it. Now General Motors is in and out of bankruptcy and people have become enslaved to their creditors. It truly is difficult to believe this has happened. A genuinely wonderful time in America has slipped away only to be remembered by old fogies like me.

Below is the photograph that got me to reminiscing.

©Kinsey Barnard

19 December 2011


I'm just playing around here and thought I would try posting a seascape slideshow from my Website. Too bad I can't put it to music. That's probably possible but beyond my pay grade.

Enjoy the show!

SEASCAPES - Images by Kinsey Barnard

©Kinsey Barnard

15 December 2011


I am by nature a ponderer. Winters in my little patch, here in Montana, are the perfect time to catch up on my ruminations. Often the days are so cold it behooves me not to go wandering alone in the forest lest I run a cropper and end up a crispy critter. Lakota, of course, is ever by my side but I’m afraid he might not be able drag me all the way home. I do carry a cell phone but it often has no service. I also carry a GPS gizmo called Spot. Seriously, who wants to hang around in 10 to 20 degree weather waiting to get rescued? Not me. Pondering before the fire has much more allure.

This week I was thinking how much photography is like life itself. We all know that photographs are unique moments in time. As a photographer I know that you don’t ever say, “Oh, that’s cool. I’ll get it next time.” Without living to regret it. The trouble is there is no exact next time. Often there is no next time at all because the scene no longer exists. Even though I know better I have done it a hundred times much to my chagrin. My mother used to say, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As usual my mother was right.

What got me to thinking about these things were a couple of photos I came across whilst I was working in my galleries this week. The first image “Kootenai Cabin” is of an old settlers cabin that I found on the trail that takes you down to Kootenai Falls. Fabulous falls if you’ve not seen them. I’ve got photos .... somewhere.

As I was admiring the image I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have it because that particular scene no longer exists. The power company has since come through and made what was once a lovely hiking trail into a road. None of the foreground exists today. That foreground adds immeasurably to the mood and quality of the image.

This next image “River Wreck” is of an old jalopy that somehow fell into the Tobacco River and got lodged in the grass along the banks.

This old guy was wedged into that grassy bank for a number of years. But, last winter was so big, the runoff so huge and the rivers so high this wreck just got swept away never to be seen again. It most likely now rests at the bottom of Lake Koocanusa.  I am partial to old things and I am glad I have this photo because no one will ever get another chance to capture it.

This last image “Winter Camouflage” is of a little gal I came to know as Floppy. She was a blacktail deer who came to visit for several winters. Because many of the same deer return each year to winter some I have given names. Floppy got her name because one of her ear tips was broken and flopped over. Floppy is not here this year and I suspect I shall not have the privilege of her company again but I will always have this extraordinary moment of her existence to remember her by.

What does this have to do with life? I think it demonstrates how we must not take a single moment for granted. Moments are unique and priceless opportunities. We must make the most of each one as it comes. It’s about not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today because tomorrow may never come and no moment ever repeats itself in exactly the same way.

I know I will always miss photos because I was too lazy, too impatient, too distracted. It will be the same in my life. I will miss making the most of many wonderful moments. The best I can say for myself is that I am aware and I will endeavor to make the most of as many moments I possibly can, with or without the camera.

The story of our lives is the sum of all our moments. By paying attention and being present for as many as we can we will be able to live a much more interesting tale. Missed moments are missed opportunities. Capture as many as you can.

©Kinsey Barnard

11 December 2011


Yesterday was nice and sunny after a morning of dense fog. When the fog rolls in around here it is complete whiteout and not very uplifting. The nice thing about it is that I know a phenomenon is taking place that will make for some fun with the camera, hoar frost.

Hoar frost occurs when the air has gobs of moisture in it and the temperature is below freezing. When the moisture freezes crystal blooms literally form on the frozen surfaces of lakes and ponds. If the frost is big enough the entire forest turns into a crystal palace. Kind of like a scene from Dr. Zhivago.

As soon as the fog lifted and the sun came out I grabbed up my gear and headed for the pond.  Sure enough there were some small blooms upon the surface. These crystals aren't easy to photograph. It's difficult to get good definition. After an hour and a half of trying I wasn't able to get much more than an image that will at least convey to you what I am talking about when I say ice blooms. The air temperature was 18 degrees F and that kinda cold eats up camera batteries very fast.

What I call Ice Blooms

In the image above the ice crystals formed on larch needles but these blooms can form all by themselves creating some absolutely delicate and exquisite crystal flowers. It's not even officially winter yet so hopefully I'll have more chances to get something that lights my candle.

I did get one image that I liked. Ice flowers had formed on stalks of last summer's grass. The stalks were leaning over the dark waters of a brook which gives the appearance of a starry sky.

I just love taking photographs like this. They make me feel as though I am looking at a world within a world. Nature creates so many incredibly interesting things. It's like traveling in inner space and fascinates the dickens out of me.

PS: In case you missed it and you live where winters are winters please check out this post. A fall on ice could really mess up your life. Micro Spikes

©Kinsey Barnard

07 December 2011


It's a funny thing, when I first moved out to the Montana wilderness my friends and colleagues were worried that I would be lonely or bored. Ten years later and I can honestly say, not a problem.

Is there such as word as "unbored"? I doubt it but that's what I am. In ten years I have never had a bored moment. Between managing my sanctuary and pursuing my passion for photography I can barely keep up with myself.

Always alone but never lonely. I honestly don't know what is the big bugaboo about being alone. I love it and I'm not really alone at all. There is my trusty sidekick Lakota aka Koty. He is a great companion and very easy to get along with.

Lakota Sunrise

And, then there are the wild things that visit it me from time to time. Why just yesterday when I returned from a trip into town some mule deer were in the meadow to welcome me home.

Mule Deer in the Meadow.

Each year a band of blacktail aka mule deer spend the winter with me. It's a wonderful homecoming. When the snow is gone and the grass is long they will leave to summer in the high country.

All, of this came to me as I realized that I haven't written anything on this blog in a week and it seems like just yesterday. I really do not know where the time goes. Of course, part of it may have to do with the fact that I will be starting my 64th year in just a little more than a month. For those of you who don't know that means I will turn 63. Hard for me to believe as I doubt I have ever been in such good shape or better health. It really is true you are as old as you think you are and I must admit I have no concept of my numerical age. I also have to laugh at experts who say that if you live alone you will die younger. I don't think so! Age, loneliness, boredom those are all choices that one makes. Silly me I don't even know the meaning of those words.

I am doing a lot of work on my website FINE ART NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY. Putting together some new galleries and adding new images. It's a lot of work and winter is a great time to get after it.

By far the most popular new work I put up this past week was this one I call Old Yeller. Apparently, some people like old things!

Speaking of boredom this post probably bored you to tears? Safe to wake up now. I'm done!

©Kinsey Barnard

30 November 2011


The other day I got an invitation, by way of The Kinsey Kronicles, to enter a Gore-Tex contest. Gore-Tex is looking for people with stories to tell, along with photos or videos, of how Gore-Tex “delivered for you.”

I’m thinking someone stumbled upon this blog and thought I might be a Gore-Tex user. Good guess. If one does just about anything outdoors I don’t see how you could not be a Gore-Tex user and fan. I am all about the outdoors. Gore-Tex is in my gloves, my jackets, my pants, my boots. I am a real Gore-Tex gal.

Gore-Tex has kept me dry and warm for many years. I could tell stories of kayaking in the spring downpours, being caught in summer mountain squalls in the Jewell Basin, tromping through mountain streams in the Great Bear Wilderness, cross country skiing in the Kootenay Rockies, snowshoeing the Blacktail Trail, or tending chores here at the ranch in rain and snow storms.

What I can’t do is provide any photos. Which is somewhat ironic since I am a photographer.  A requirements is the story teller is supposed to be in the photos. The one thing that is never in any of my photographs is me. I have tried for years to get Koty on board with picture taking but with no success. Since it's always just the two of us ....

I can’t enter the contest but it occurred to me some of you readers might like to give it a whirl. You need to get your entry in by December 15.

You can find complete details on the Gore-Tex Facebook Page. It looks like a fun contest. I'll bet there will be some great stories.

If you are the grand prize winner be sure to let us know.

©Kinsey Barnard

28 November 2011

Insect Bites & Allergic Reactions

This post is a 180 from my last A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever. My show and tell photo for today is UGLY.

My first duty upon rising at this time of year is to get the woodstove going again. It usually goes out over night no matter how far down I dampen it. It's not a problem because this house is so well insulated often times I have to crack a window to let some of the heat escape.

Back to the tale at hand, pardon the pun. Yesterday morning I was setting about my fire making duties when as I put my right hand in the glove I felt this really nasty sting. At first I thought it was maybe a splinter of wood that gotten inside the glove. That happens. But, the sting was so red hot I flung off the glove and threw it down. I thought I saw something black on my finger but I wasn't sure because I do this task in near darkness. I don't know why. I just do. I hunted around for a flashlight and by the time I got a hold of one and swept the carpet with it there was nothing to be found. There is a lamp right there I could have turned on but I didn't. I don't know why. I just didn't.

The sting, bite or whatever hurt like the dickens and I thought to myself "Sure hope that wasn't a brown recluse or some other deadly do wrong". Ever the optimist I decided it wasn't anything lethal. Sides, I live far enough out in the bush that I would probably be over the Rainbow Bridge before they got here anyway. I noticed my hand was starting to swell quickly. I am very allergic to insect bites and stings.

Taking matters into my own hands I took some Benadryl and slathered on the Cortizone 10. Right away I noticed the swelling seemed to be slowing and I breathed a sigh of relief. Where I messed up was I thought I only needed to take the Benadryl once not a few times. This morning when I woke up my hand looked like this. WARNING! The picture you are about to see should not be viewed by those with weak stomachs. OK, that's a little theatrical but it does look nasty.


Honestly, this is not what my hand normally looks like. The swelling crept six inches up my arm. Looking at it on the bright side it did stretch all the wrinkles out!

The worst part is I don't what bit me and the bugger is still running around in the house. For all I know he is back in the woodbox just waiting for his next chance to attack.

©Kinsey Barnard

27 November 2011


This photograph was taken in the spring when the aspen and cottonwood trees were just bringing forth new life. The reflective nature of the image gives the impression that the photograph is not a photograph at all but a painting. Nature wields a mighty brush when She paints upon the waters.

For certain beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To my eye this photo is gorgeous. The stunning color coupled with the painting like quality make this an image that gives rise to a joyful feeling in my heart. Looking at it just makes me feel good. And, as Keats said "A thing of beauty is a joy forever".

I would love to know what you think.  You can leave a comment by clicking on the image and scrolling down to the bottom. It would be great if you did.

©Kinsey Barnard

26 November 2011


As regular readers know I have had an ongoing love affair with all things Apple. That is until now.

I recently decided that I needed an iPod. I saw great enjoyment in being able to go out in the forest here at the ranch with some of my favorite music. Just being in my slice of nature fills my senses. I thought including some music that takes me places I can’t explain might heighten the experience. I don’t understand why people need drugs. I’m on a Rocky Mountain high all the time!

I digress. So, I bought an iPod Classic.  When I got it home I set it to charging itself and explored the rest of the stuff in the package, which wasn’t much except for the earphones. I tried, for five or ten minutes, to put the things in my ears but when my ears started to get raw from my trying I decided something was wrong. I looked up how to put them in on the internet and found an Apple site that said there should be rubber or silicon ear buds to go over the microphones. OK, so something was left out of the box.

I called Apple and explained that my package had not contained the necessary earbuds. I was summarily told the earbuds were not included. Unfortunately, did not save the address of the page that said they did so I couldn’t argue very well. The documentation that comes with the iPod doesn’t mention the earphones at all. I did say it was crazy because surely many people would not be able to use the ear earphones them.

So, here I sit with a $249.00 piece of equipment I cannot use because Apple was too cheap to include $3.95 earbuds.  Mind you $3.95 is retail, what I can buy them for. I’m sure they wouldn’t cost Apple $1.00 to include them in the package. What Apple was after was selling me a different set of earphones for an additional sixty or seventy dollars.

The very idea that Apple ships out a product that every consumer cannot use as is is unconscionable. There is absolutely no way this isn’t done on purpose. This is the second time Apple has disappointed me. Earlier I bought an iPad that couldn’t be used with the Mac operating system I had. I needed to buy a new OS. No one told me that before hand or mentioned the possibility I might not be able to use it without purchasing a new operating system. Shame on you Apple. Looks like corporate greed has gotten to you too!

I’m sure when I get my new earphones, which I bought from Amazon, I will get all the enjoyment from the product that I had hoped for. But, I am certainly left with a bad taste in my mouth as far as the way Apple does business. I certainly won’t be singing your praises out of hand any more.

©Kinsey Barnard

21 November 2011

Kahtoola Micro Spikes - Product Review

Nothing gives me more pleasure than to find a great product that I can recommend to the benefit of others. It’s even better when I find the people behind the product are as great as the product.

My home is in northwest Montana. As you might imagine it gets very cold and icy up here. Originally from California, I am now in my tenth year at this location. If there is one thing I have developed over the years it is a healthy respect for ice, living out in a National Forest as I do, just me and my trusty sidekick, Siberian Husky Lakota Sunrise (Koty).

One slip and fall on the ice and life as you know it could be changed forever particularly if you are in that stage of life when the old bones, like the hair, start to thin. Because I am in that stage and live alone in a remote area I am quite judicious in the ways that I interact with my environment, particularly in winter. Not using my noggin could result in serious injury or even death in an icy cold grave. Worse, I could mess myself up so I could no longer live this life.

Koty and I hike almost every day of our lives. It’s an addiction affliction. In winter we tend to stick to the forest roads. I figure if we do run a cropper there’s a better chance of getting found before we become crispy critters. The roads can also be dicy in that traffic packs down the snow and it’s not long before the tracks are slick as grease.

It didn’t take me long to figure out I needed something on the bottom of my boots to give me traction and keep me from falling arse over tea kettle. The roads I travel are in the mountains. They are up and down and seldom flat. I tried everything from Yak Trax to Spare Spikes. None of them gave me a feeling of security, and worse, they fell apart within weeks. A total waste of money.

I kept searching until I discovered Kahtoola Crampons. These babies looked like I could climb Everest. I didn’t care. I bought a pair and was never happier. I could walk straight up sheer ice without slipping. I had never felt so secure walking on ice. I would still recommend these crampons to anyone with the caveat that they are not for urban or suburban walking.

Last winter, after seven or eight seasons with my Kahtoola crampons I had completely worn through one of the straps. I contacted the company and shipped them off to Flagstaff for repair. A week or so later I got a call from Vance White, a Kahtoola designer, who told me my crampons had been repaired and were on their way back. Vance was curious how I was using my Kahtoola crampons.  I told him. He asked if I had thought about trying the Kahtoola Micro Spikes?  I said no as there was no such thing when I bought my crampons and I was so pleased with those I had not bothered to look further.  Vance convinced me I should try them and, since I live in the middle of nowhere, offered to sell me a pair direct.

Shortly thereafter I received my repaired crampons at no charge. A pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect that. A few days after that I got the Micro Spikes. The only problem was it was April so I couldn’t try them out.

Now the snow has flown, the slippery conditions have arrived and I have been out with my Micro Spikes and they work beautifully. An added bonus, they are really easy to slip on and off. The crampons take more effort. I liken them to putting on a pair of roller skates, if you are old enough to remember what that’s like. Another advantage is the Micro Spikes don’t seem to get clogged up with snow. I have had times with the crampons when conditions changed whilst I was out and had sticky fresh snow packed into a ball under the crampons to the point I could barely walk. I purposely took the Micro Spikes into unpacked snow and I had no problems.

I can’t make any claims about how long they will last but they look strong and I think they will hold up well. If for some reason they do fail I also know from experience Kahtoola will make it right.

Not many live the life that I do so the Kahtoola Crampons would not be suitable for the majority. Micro Spikes, however, can benefit anyone who lives in a climate where there is snow and ice underfoot. I think if you do live in these conditions and don’t have a pair of Micro Spikes you are out of your mind. And lookie here, you can even get them at Zappo’s.  Christmas gift idea? Stocking Stuffer?

Kahtoola has great products, great people and great customer service. What more is there?

It may sound as though I am on the company payroll. I assure you I am not. It’s just that there is so much to complain about these day when I find something I think is really worthwhile I get excited about it and want to share it with everyone.

©Kinsey Barnard

17 November 2011

Coping With Cushing's

Just a week ago my darling boy Lakota was diagnosed with Cushing's disease. There is no cure for it. So, the best we can hope to do is extend his quality of life for as long as we can. Who knows, if we're lucky, that could be a good long while in dog time.

As  regular readers are aware, Koty is pretty much my family. We are as close as any two creatures can be being together twenty for seven as we are. I have decided to document our experience with the disease in a new blog. It seems a lot of dogs are getting this disease and maybe others will be interested in how we deal with it. Also, to do so makes me feel like I'm somehow being more proactive. Maybe some of my observations will be helpful to others.

In any event the name of the blog is Coping With Cushing's: Lakota's Story . Click on the link to go to the address.

06 November 2011

Apple's iMac and Lion

I took delivery of my new iMac this past week. It surely is a thing of beauty. There have been a whole lot of changes between my old operating system and Lion. It's going to be awhile before I have everything set up the way I want it and there are some software issues that need sorting out with my photo editing software. But, once I've got it put together it's going to be awesome.

One of the first things I found out was my Microsoft Word program was too old to work with iMacs Lion.  At first I thought "Drat! I have to shell out for a whole new program." A quick call to Applecare and I learned I could go to the App Store and for $19.95 buy what they call a "Page". It's the word processing equivalent of Word. You can also buy the equivalent of Power Point and Excel for $19.95 each. They are watered down versions but more than adequate for my needs. I also learned about iCloud and how I can share my documents with my iPad. This means I can take my iPad anywhere, write when I am inspired and then put it on my desktop. The two will work seamlessly. So cool!

At this point I need to say something about Applecare. Despite the fact I have been using computers for over thirty years I don't really know much about them. I was never really interested in computers. I was only interested in what they could do for me. As a result I am still pretty much of a neophyte with regard to many things operational.

So far I have called Applecare three times. On each occasion the representative has been courteous, knowledgeable and most importantly, patient. I have received a survey questionnaire for each call and responded to all of them with 10's for every question. I don't get any Brownie points for doing so. It's just how I feel.

I switched to Mac in 2007. I had been a PC user for 28 years prior to that. I started in the dark days of DOS when all you got when you turned on your computer was a blank screen with a blinking cursor. In those days, Apple was considered a kookie cult only for nerds. I was reluctant to make the change but theatrical photographer and friend, Michal Daniel, insisted I must because Apple graphics are the industry standard. With great trepidation I did.

There was a learning curve involved with that transition to be sure but not as much as I thought there would be. And I can only say that it was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made. Windows and PC's are simply junk in comparison. My Macs never crash, never get viruses, are so intuitive and simple to use and the graphics are beautiful, a photographers dream. Truly a must for serious artists. Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about Mac and Apple as a whole.

A fine legacy Steve Jobs left behind. The world truly is a better place for him having been in it.

And, that's all I have to say about Apple and Macs except, if you don't own one you are a masochist! :)

©Kinsey Barnard

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04 November 2011


There has certainly been a lot of talk about the end of the world these days. I haven’t actually counted but there have already been several end of the world predictions this year the last of which was October 28th. A fellow by the name of Carl Calleman  recalculated the Mayan Calendar and decided that the end of the world would come on October 28th rather than more popular December 21, 2012.  Since it is now November 3rd I guess we know how that worked out.

I recently watched an end of the world program entitled Is it the End of the World as We Know It?  on the National Geographic Channel. I have to say my respect for National Geographic is greatly diminished by much of their programming. It seems they, like everyone else, are caught up in the money game. And after watching this particular pseudo documentary my respect sank even further. The producers appear more interested in theatrics than facts. There were several things that insulted my intelligence but the one that sticks out in my mind was a segment of the film where the narrator went to Mexico to look into “an ancient Mayan city”.  The camera follows the “actors” as they approach the city through jungle foliage whilst speaking in hushed tones. As they break out of the jungle what do we see? Chitsa Nitsa!  As anyone who has been there knows Chitsa Nitsa is a huge tourist attraction on the Yucatan Peninsula. You do not hack your way through a dangerous jungle in an effort to get there. You take a tour bus.

In this Nat Geo episode we are whisked away to Germany to consult the Dresden Codex.  People have spent lifetimes gifting the world with their “learned” interpretations. In this particular documentary the researcher takes us to the end of the codex and shows us a page he says means the world will be covered in water and thus destroyed. Honestly, I couldn’t see it. I just had to take his word for it.

As lightweight as this documentary was it did get me to thinking about the Mayan prediction for the end of the world. Well at least that’s what a bunch of people looking for a fun and easy way to make a living say. Who knows what the Mayans actually had in mind.

Here are some of the questions I have. The world for the Mayans was more or less the Yucatan Peninsula, west to Mexico City and down into northern El Salvador. Pretty much the entire civilization was surrounded by water. Natural cycles were an integral part of the Mayan belief system. Could it be that the Mayans were simply predicting the end of what they knew to be the world and not the entire planet? When the Mayan calendar in question was written could the Mayans have had any idea there was a world outside of their own? I'd be much more concerned about living in the area of the ancient Mayan civilization.

Many centuries later, in the 1,700's A.D., a fellow by the name of Nostradamus  came along and supposedly predicted an end to the world on December 21, 2012. How anyone makes heads or tails of his quatrains is a mystery to me. I think you could have as many interpretations of his writings as there are people making them. Let your imagination be your guide.

The Bible, as we all know, predicts the coming of Armageddon but the precise time has not been revealed. Still many people seem to like to lump the Bible in with all the hype and hysteria. Although, I must admit, I can certainly see some of the biblical predictions of what end times will look like in the present state of the globe. Clearly, it could be on its way.

There seems to be another date coming around that people are worked up about 11-11-11 but I honestly can’t figure out what it is about. I believe it has something to do with an asteroid.

I’m with the Mayans in that I believe in Nature and I believe in cycles. That fact is, even though we don’t care to think about it, we humans hang by a fine thread each and everyday. There are asteroids, earthquakes, volcanoes, famines, plagues, nuclear bombs and heaven only knows what lurking out there, just waiting to render us extinct. The painful truth is, the amount of time that this planet has provided an environment that is capable of supporting the human race as we know it is so tiny within the context of a 4.5 billion year old planet you would need a super computer to express it as a percentage. The number would be so tiny. I’m not good at math but I do know it would be a whole lot of zeros after that decimal.

The naked truth is we are an anomaly. There is little doubt in my mind that human life, if not all life will some day be wiped out. How and when I have no clue. It could be tomorrow or it could be another million or more years out.

Personally, I find the current financial and economic situation in which we find ourselves of much more immediate concern. I see the real possibility of a total collapse resulting in an end to life as we have come to know it. But, I have no crystal ball. I can’t predict anything other than things will go on as they are until they don’t. We may simply muddle through or not. Only time will tell.

I do advocate that everyone have some emergency supplies on hand for anything that might come down the pike, whether man made or Mother Nature. I’ll bet there were a lot of people wishing they were better prepared for last weeks snowstorm on the East Coast.

A friend of mine and I have made a small tradition that whenever there is an end of the world day we go out to lunch and eat a lot of not healthy but very delicious food. We figure if the world is going to end we ought to treat ourselves to a decadent “last supper”.  The way things are going so far this could turn into a hazardous to my health ritual.But, I'm loving it none-the-less.

My recommendation: Do whatever you can to prepare yourself for an emergency. Once you are satisfied you have done that go about your business and live each day to the fullest, you should be doing that in any event. Life is short under the best of circumstances.
©Kinsey Barnard

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29 October 2011


Having nothing better to do this morning I thought I would roast The Donald.

A few evenings ago I was channel surfing, something I do a lot of because despite shelling out $80/mo. for a bazillion channels from Dish it’s hard to find anything I haven’t seen before. Whilst I was engaging in my flipping frustration I happened to come across Piers Morgan whom, I guess, has taken over for Larry King. Donald Trump was on so for a lack of anything better I decided stop and watch.

What a self-aggrandizing, self-serving fop this man is. I bet he notified the audience five times about how bright a guy he is. Funny thing, it has been my experience that anyone who has to keep reminding others how sharp they are has some serious doubts about himself. I actually find him a little hard to look at with that ridiculous comb over hairdo. You’ve got to hand it to the The Donald though. Most people who looked so absurd would never be able to be taken seriously. I marvel at how popular and seemingly respected such a buffoon can be.

Piers was asking Trump about his opinion regarding the Republican presidential candidates. Trump had nothing but glowing, loving things to say about them all. When asked about his own aspiration regarding a presidential bid Trump said he would only run if he were sure he could win. I seriously doubt he has any intention of running.

Piers went on to asked Trump what he would do to fix our current economic troubles. Trump launched into a diatribe about the permitting process and how it was nearly impossible to get anything done in this country. I’m inclined to agree with this point of view but gee I wonder why a real estate developer would be so worked up about getting more relaxed permitting?

His next big idea was to promote energy self-sufficiency in this country. He pointed out that the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal and that instead of using it here we ship it off to China. And big oil should be allowed to do its thing, cleanly of course. Once again Trump reminded everyone what a penny he is and noted he had looked into alternative energy knew all about it. He said alternative energy just wasn’t viable. He specifically spoke of solar energy saying that it was ridiculous because it would take thirty years for payback and the panels only last fifteen before they become junk. Let me tell you the man is either intentionally feeding the public misinformation or his is not nearly as bright as he thinks he is.

I know a little something about solar energy as I invested in a system this summer and learned quite a bit about the subject. To say out of hand that the payback is thirty years is misguided. There are many permutations of installations. I would venture to guess that a grid tied system mounted on a roof in Phoenix would be able to do considerably better than that. Costs are coming down all the time. Solar panels today come with a 25-year warranty. Here’s a link to the Sharp panels I purchased.  I paid around $600 for them back in May. It looks like today you can get them for $429. Now, you may be able to find solar panels with only a 15-year warranty but that wouldn’t make you very smart would it?

Basically Trump spent the whole interview feathering his own nest. Making nice to all the candidates so no matter, which one wins, he’ll be on the right side. I doubt he will endorse anyone outright until he knows “for sure” who is gong to win in the primary. And, making nice for big business because guess who leases all that square footage he develops.

It’s not the Donald’s fault, really. Donald Trump gets on television because people watch. What baffles me is why people watch. The guy is a snake oil salesman, a master promoter and nothing more. I’ll bet you his hero growing up was P.T. Barnum who so adroitly said, “Every crowd has a silver lining”.  OK, so watch the guy for entertainment but for heavens sake don’t mistake his motives. Trump is  all about the Donald.

©Kinsey Barnard

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28 October 2011

Women With High Cholesterol Live Longer

Today I read with interest this little article about cholesterol and women. It seems now some researchers think high cholesterol might be a good thing in women. I had to laugh. I am not a medical professional but I do have a head on my shoulders and this reminds me of the great egg scare. For a while there they told us eating eggs would kill us, as I recall because they were chock full of cholesterol. They'd rather have you eating Pop Tarts for breakfast! I never quit eating my five or six eggs per week and I'm glad I didn't because, Happy Daze, "they" changed their mind. Now "they" think eggs are a wonderful food.

Twenty five years ago when I was an executive in a high stress job I had a no deductible health plan and I could choose any doctor in San Francisco I wanted. Naturally, I went with the the best money could buy. Hey, it wasn't my money and I hadn't yet become the sceptic that I am today. During one of my annual physicals it was discovered that I had elevated cholesterol. I don't recall exactly what it was but I think it was around 265. They hadn't come up with "good" cholesterol yet so the news was all bad.

Right away they wanted me to go on some drug. I wasn't quite as leery of establishment medicine in those days but I was already not a fan of pharmaceuticals. I declined the offer of drugs and went on my way. It was not long after the high cholesterol discovery that I concluded, despite the money and perks, I wasn't cut out to be a shark. As they say at the ranch "The juice wasn't worth the squeeze". I had always told my colleague's what I really wanted to do was live in the wood on roots and berries. They laughed. They thought I was kidding and were in complete disbelief when I simply up and quit.

I didn't get to the woods right away. I started a little boutique produce company near Monterey. It was something I had always wanted to do. It was great fun and much less stressful. Then I had to take care of both my parents as they transitioned from this mortal plain. I finally achieved my roots and berries goal around ten years ago.

Throughout these years I have wondered about my cholesterol levels but not enough to have it checked. I haven't been to a doctor in over twenty years. Actually, I have to amend that statement. I do get tested for glaucoma every year or two because my mother had it and I do believe that genetics can cause a tendency. My cholesterol level may be high or it may not be. It doesn't matter one way or another to me. I am much more afraid of the statin drugs physicians and pharmaceutical companies have been pushing down peoples gullets. I wouldn't be surprised if statin drugs like Lipitor haven't made more people sick than cholesterol.

For what it's worth I believe your best defense against disease is adopting a "moderation in all things" approach. I don't deny myself anything but I don't make a pig of myself either. I prefer to take responsibility for my health. It takes a little more effort than chasing after some magic bullet pharmaceutical. But I really think those magic bullets are more likely to make you sick or even kill you.

My prescription for good health is to get regular exercise, eat sensibly, get at least eight hours of sleep and above all else reduce stress in your life. Of those four things reducing stress is probably the most difficult to achieve but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if you can master your mind you will be happier and healthier for it.

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©Kinsey Barnard

27 October 2011

A Walk Along the Tobacco River

Yesterday I had to run errands in town. Where I live there is little in the way of services so I must take my trash to the dump and go to the post office to pick up my mail. Both of those two were on my "to do" list. I always try and work in some kind of a walk when I'm down in the valley just for a change of scenery. Also, at this time of year hunting season is open and it can be a little dicey wandering around in the woods where I live .

Taking the path toward Pigeon Bridge along the Tobacco River is always a favorite. I never fail to see something that makes me so grateful to live here. Fall was late in coming this year but once it got started it came on fast and now the color is nearly gone, the trees shedding their golden leaves at a prodigious rate.

At one point on the path the trail is bounded on both sides by great towering Cottonwood trees. As we walked along a breeze would kick up and there would be a crinkling sound like someone balling up cellophane and golden confetti would rain down on us. The path was carpeted with fallen leaves. I don't know what it was about those leaves but scuffling along through them I felt like a kid. I could hear my mother calling "Pick up your feet!". Funny how such simple things can conjure up so many memories that bring a smile to one's face. I thought to myself "Not listening Mama".

The sun was tring to put in an appearnace but it was a pretty weak effort. Still it was better than the past few days which have been just dreary. Earlier in the week I had three inches of snow. It didn't stick very long but for a few hours it looked very much like winter.

Below are some of the things I saw on this walk. All of the photos were taken with a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot.

Path of Gold

Koty enjoying the autumn leaves

Larch or Tamarack. The thing about Larch is that they are a needle tree that loses its needles in the Fall. In the Fall they make a beautiful patchwork in the evergreen forest of spruce and fir. Many newcomers to the area cut down their beautiful larch thinking that they are dead.

Another great great thing about this trail is that you always seem to run into someone but it's seldom a two legged. This is a blacktail buck with his harem. It's that time of year.

A pair of bald eagles sitting in a Cottonwood tree along the Tobacco River.

I thought this was such a pretty little mushroom. I have absolutely no idea what label has been given to it but mine is Petticoat Mushroom

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©Kinsey Barnard

23 October 2011

My Deductions About Cancer

Since Steve Jobs death due to pancreatic cancer there has been much written about his choice of treatment. It seems he eschewed all traditional therapies including surgery. He later said he had made a mistake not having surgery earlier.  I think it was a mistake too.

All the talk got me to thinking about cancer. My father was the poster boy for cancer. He had his first cancer in 1959 at the age of forty-six. He was diagnosed with a sarcoma in his upper thigh. There were not a lot of therapies available in 1959 so the consensus of medical opinion was to chop his leg off. That was not an acceptable option for my father so he told the doctors to just cut out the cancer and he would take whatever came with that decision. Over the next thirty-seven years he had two more rounds with cancer, prostate and lung, before he finally died of liver cancer in 1996. In no case did he have chemotherapy or radiation. He did have surgery where surgery was viable.

The observation that I make is that he lived thirty-seven years as a happy and seemingly healthy man. When the end came it came swiftly. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and given six months to live. In exactly six months he was gone having suffered only a couple of weeks at the end.

My father’s choices were intuitive. He acted on instinct. He didn’t let so-called “experts” tell him what to do. He listened to their recommendations and made his own decisions. He didn’t know anything about alternative therapies. Had he, he might have done even better. Still I think eighty-three would be considered by most a pretty long life. He was certainly happy with it.

When one is genetically linked to another with such a history you can’t help but wonder how it might manifest in your life. I concluded that I may well get cancer but that I have absolutely no expectation that I ever will.

The one thing my father couldn’t do was get control of his mind. My father was a very stressed out fellow. It didn’t have to do with the cancer. As near as I could tell he was just an angry man. Why I couldn’t say but he was given to blowing his top over the silliest things and I remember as a child thinking he was going to give himself a heart attack. Instead I think he gave himself cancer.

Over my life I have come to believe that stress is the root cause of ALL disease. It compromises the immune system and lets all kinds of attackers have their sway. If you watched the docudrama Pirates of the Silicon Valley, and it bears any resemblance to reality, you can quickly determine that Steve Jobs was a very uptight and driven man.

I think Jobs was on the right track with alternative therapies and it would appear that he lived much longer than the norm for one with pancreatic cancer. I bet he would have lived even longer had he had the surgery straight away. I don’t know much about what the alternatives are because I don’t really pay any attention. It seems a waste of time if you don’t have any particular need to know and may never need to know. I do believe that alternative remedies are more likely to help and less likely to harm than pharmaceuticals. And I would certainly educate myself should the need arise.

I’m fairly certain if I ever do need to confront cancer I’ll opt for surgery if it’s an option and then seek out alternative panaceas. I will never ever let anyone abuse my body with chemotherapy. I believe chemotherapy kills more people than cancer. And, worse, completely ruins whatever time the person has left. Cancer is a very big moneymaker for establishment medical practitioners and big pharmaceuticals. So, if you want to help line their pockets let them do your thinking for you. Keep in mind, however,  there is a big price to be paid for not taking responsibility for your self.

But, I think there is way too much attention given to cures and not nearly enough to prevention. On the ranch we would say it is liken to closing the barn door after the horse has got loose. Wouldn’t it be much better not to get the damned stuff in the first place? I truly believe everyone has the power to choose health over sickness. It all starts with your mind and your thoughts. If you can find ways to reduce stress in your life you will be taking a huge step. If you can become aware of your thoughts and choose to rid yourself of the non-productive ones you it will be making your body happier and healthier. Happy and healthy cannot co-exist with sickness.

Of course diet and exercises are very important for good health but I think reducing stress should be your number one mission. I know reducing stress isn’t easy. I myself took the cowards’ way out. I bought a ranch in the middle of the Montana wilderness and live happy as a clam with just my pal Lakota. Simply looking out the window at the gorgeous views can reduce any stress that finds its way into my sanctuary. But, for those of you who can’t do what I did I suggest you forget studying about alternative therapies, unless you already have something, and put your energies into studying and practicing ways to reduce stress in your life. The mind is a powerful thing and it will manifest that which it ponders. It’s your choice.

If you already have cancer reducing stress can still be a major help.  I strongly recommend you get this rubbish about "fighting" cancer right out of your head. The very word is chock full of stressors. Don't fight cancer work with it. Accept it is with you and invite it to leave.

“As you think, so your shall be” ---   Kinsey Barnard

If you have a minute head over to my Facebook Page  I'm focusing on Fall colors in Montana and the colors are brilliant. Turning your attention to things of beauty is a great way to reduce stress. 

©Kinsey Barnard

20 October 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I came across this table this morning and could not help but pass it along.

It is a list of Romney and Paul contributors. If you don't like Paul just look at Romneys contributors. Any of the contributor names look familiar? The man is clearly bought and paid for as are the majority of professional politicians.

Why is it that the American people are such suckers for good looks and slick talk? Romney fills the bill. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting different results. I think American voters have gone completely insane.

Poor old Ron Paul. He doesn't stand a chance. He is a tiny curmudgeonly man who is anti-abortion. Personally, I'm pro choice. I don't think abortion should even be a political issue. Rather it should be a matter of individual conscience not government regulation. I would still vote for Paul over Romney because he is at least a man who sticks with his values as opposed to saying what is politically expedient, unlike most of the rest of the crowd. Although, he must be making some kind of impact or he would not be getting a total media blackout.

If anyone still thinks we have a two party system you need to wake up. Democrat and Republican politicians are simply flip sides of the same coin. The majority of politicians are nothing more than self serving parasites who will promise you the moon and deliver you to a continually lower standard of living, just as they are currently doing whilst they get rich from your struggle and toil.

Going after Wall Street isn't the answer. You need to go after the people that gave them the power to do what they do. That would be our friends in Washington. Wall Street is just a symptom. If you want to get well you have to cure the desease.

Again, what's wrong with this picture?

As long as we keep electing snake oil salesmen we are going to have to keep drinking the snake oil.

 "Encounters with good people are not to be taken for granted. I consider myself lucky to know them even if only for a little while."  Kinsey Barnard October 20, 2011

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©Kinsey Barnard

16 October 2011

Canadian Sunset

Well, I'm cheating a little on that. It's only 50% a Canadian sunset. Half is in the state of Montana and half is in British Columbia. But, I love the color and I love the music.

And to go with it Floyd Cramer's Canadian Sunset. Such a beautiful piece.

©Kinsey Barnard

15 October 2011

First Winter Dusting

We had our first winter dusting of snow here in NW Montana this week. I took this snappy out the passenger window. The view is over to the West Kootenai and Robinson Mountain. I was too lazy toto get out of the car so the lines you see intersecting the image are fence wire. I just rolled down the window and shot through the passenger side.

Robinson Mountain-Kootenai National Forest 10-14-2011

The most beautiful  thing was Wednesday I saw my first blacktail so the migration has started. I also saw what I like to imagine was my whitetail doe and her twins now foraging at the cattle ranch below. It probably wasn't them but it may me feel so happy and sad to say adios to them. Earlier I posted this tribute to the process. When Will I See You Again

©Kinsey Barnard

09 October 2011

LouLa's Cafe - Huckleberry/Peach Pie

Friday October 7, 2011

One of my favorite reads is Via published by AAA. The magazine features destinations to consider, things to do and things to eat. I especially like the things to eat! I've been a member of AAA since forever and have been glad about that. One of the few things I find where you still get your money's worth. One thing I find annoying though. For some reason my card says that I have been a member since 1911 and absolutely no one has ever complemented me on how good I look for my age!

In the Fall issue I noticed an article  on pies and read with gusto. Great luck; one of the mentioned eateries was Loula's Cafe in Whitefish and they were touting the peach and huckleberry pie.

When I fist moved to Montana people would speak of huckleberries with such reverence I thought they had taken leave of their senses. I could not imagine how a berry fruit could deserve such adoration. That was, of course, before I tasted them. Now I love them so much I coined the name Montana Caviar.

I'll never forget my first encounter. Koty and I were on our way to hike the Terriault Pass and came across and elderly gentleman up on the side of the mountain foraging around in the bushes with a small pail in hand. I could not restrain myself so I stopped and climbed up the bank to ask what he was doing. He told me he was picking huckleberries and asked if I would like to try some. From that first mouthwatering bite it was clear what all the todo was about. The gentleman even offered Koty a handful. He loved them too and Koty is a very finicky eater. It was quite generous of this stranger because those berries are tiny and it takes forever to get a even a small pail of those delicious nuggets.

When I read of Loula's I knew I had to go down to Whitefish and try a slice. I called my sidekick Mona and we made a plan to go down to Whitefish and today we did just that. Fortunately, I had called ahead to enquire about the availability and was told that around 11:00 to 11:30 was a good time. We arrived right on schedule and a good thing too! There were exactly two pieces of pie remaining.

Well, all I can say is there was no disappointment, the pie was delicious. The peach huckleberry combination was all I had dreamed and the crust was outstanding. I always judge a pie maker by its crust. You can mess up the greatest filling with a lousy crust. I can't tell you what it cost as I did not see the slice price and my chum picked up the tab. You can also order the whole pie. Now there's a decadent idea!

I'd not been to this cafe before so I scanned the menu and it appeared overall reasonable. I noticed what looked like a very nice selection of hamburgers and I'm a fool for hamburgers. I think I will have to return to try some of their other fare. I would recommend you try Loula's if you should find yourself in Whitefish, Montana. And, you will most assuredly find yourself there if you are coming to Glacier National Park.

If you want to give it a go Loula's is located at 300 Second Street E. The entrance is right on 93 and the cafe is located downstairs. The phone number is (406) 862-5614. If you're looking for the huckleberry pie you may want to call ahead.

©Kinsey Barnard

06 October 2011

Steve Jobs - A Wet Fall So Far

Sadly Steve Jobs has past away at a very young 56.  I'm glad he was able to see his company finally come into it's own as a brand.

Open burn season began on the first of October but ever since then it has been raining so I can't get out to do Fall cleanup in the forest. Wasn't able to do much this spring for the same reason. The fuel just keeps piling up.

No one is more guilty of romanticizing nature than moi. But, the truth is nature is just like us, or we are just like nature, seemingly never able to do anything in moderation. Actually, it is an oxymoron to speak of nature and humans as separate in anyway, but we do. 

Yesterday I was literally cocooned in white billowy clouds. Written like that it sounds romantic alright but the truth is it was quite claustrophobic. I couldn't see two feet in front of my face. Koty was twirling around on the carpet trying to get me to go out. I refused. :)
It was not so long ago everyone was wringing their hands over the drought. Now we have more water than we know what to do with. Not really, the Kootenai River takes the run-off and sends it on down to the Columbia where lots of folks can use it in one way or another.

I, personally, do have more water than I know what to do with. Usually, by this time of year the water table has dropped down and the spring puts out a nice little flow throughout the winter. This year the pipe bringing the water down the mountain is still running at capacity!

One thing is for sure about Montana,you never know from one minute to the next what kind of weather will be coming your way.

©Kinsey Barnard

01 October 2011

On To Spokane, Cabela's and Repairs.

Wednesday 21, 2011

This morning we packed up our rig and headed for Spokane. I bot Celmentine at RnR RV in Liberty Lake so that's generally where I take her for repairs. It's really the closest reliable RV repair place for me. There is also Bretz RV in Missoula but it's the same distance so I think its best to go where they know my rig.

I realized last night that I had forgotten to put my cooking pots and pans aboard and had to swing by Wal-Mart before setting out. We took Hwy 2 to Libby. It's quite a nice drive. Lots of lakes along the road. By the time we got to the other side of Libby it was time for lunch so I pulled over right along the Kootenai River. The Kootenai is truly a beautiful river. It is also either the third or fourth largest contributor to the mighty Columbia. It is a favorite of the bald eagle for fishing. Didn't see any this stop.

Kootenai River

You can see from the photo just how crystal clear the water. This spring during the melt these rocks were not visible so much water was flowing down. I always think the partially submerged rocks are beautiful, natural still lifes.

On the way to RnR I decided to treat myself to a stop at Cabela's I love that store but had never actually been in one. My goodness it's a big place! I could spend a whole day in there looking at all the outdoor equipment and sporting items. I only had time to pick up a few essentials for the coming winter. I needed to check in at RnR before they closed so I could get on the next days schedule.

Lucky for us RnR provides customers with full hook-up whilst in for repairs. We checked in and set up for the night. No television or Interenet so I curled up with my iPad. Boy, I love that thing!

©Kinsey Barnard

28 September 2011

On The Road Again - McDonald Lake - Glacier Park

Tuesday September 20, 2011

Winter lasted so long and delayed so many projects here at the ranch I thought I might not get even a single trip in this year but I was determined. My last project, some fencing, was completed yesterday afternoon. This morning I threw a bunch of stuff in Clementine, loaded up Koty and headed down the road to the Flathead. For those who may not know, Clementine is my Winnebago View.

My first order of business was a quick swing by Glacier National Park. I hadn't been in the park all year and needed to buy a pass. Wonder of wonders I finally qualified for my Senior Pass which allows one to visit any national park in the country, for the rest of your life for a one time charge of $10.00. I don't usually feel as though I get much for my tax dollars but this is something I really appreciate and will appreciate for as long as I can still travel.

Going to the Sun Road was closed due to an avalanche. I don't think it even opened until July so not many got to experience that Glacier delight this year. I wondered around Apgar and took a few shots of McDonald Lake. It was particularly beautiful with the mountains in a shroud of fog. As usual, Mother made me cry.

McDonald Lake - Glacier National Park

McDonald Lake - Glacier National Park

Spent the night at Whitefish RV Park in order to check out all Clems systems. There were a couple of problems. The most annoying was no water from the kitchen faucet. I decided I had better head for Spokane where I bot Clem and where I take her for repair work. Normally, I make a trip to Whitefish just to de-winterize and make sure nothing has gotten messed up during the winter. This year I never got the chance.

We like the Whitefish RV park because it is close enough to walk to downtown Whitefish and the nice little Whitefish park on the Whitefish River.  It is small but has all the amenities.

On A Clear Day .....

©Kinsey Barnard

07 September 2011

Photographing Sunsets and Clouds

The other evening, just for fun, I photographed some sunsets and clouds as seen from my home. I sometimes remark how I am blessed with, what I consider, extraordinary sunsets and other celestial delights here on the mountain.

On those occasions when I do the other person usually exclaims me too! But, I think not. Light and it's angle are a photographers boon and bane. There is something quite unique about the lighting here and I believe it has to do with the elevation. The light and clouds seem to intersect with my position in such a way as to produce truly amazing celestial landscapes. The camera does not always do justice to the things that I see but from the images below you can get the jist.

©Kinsey Barnard

And then, of course there was the moon.

01 September 2011

Cartoons of the Day

A little off the normal topic, these are a few of the political and economic cartoons that I ran across this week. They would be a lot funnier if they didn't hit so close to home.

Rained cats and dogs over night and the cool, wet weather was welcome. Further down south, Montanans are fighting fires.

28 August 2011

Fisher Bird Trifecta on the Tobacco River.

August 26, 20011

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I took a hike to Wolverine Lake in the Ten Lakes Scenic Area. On the way up I pulled a muscle in the back of my calf about a quarter of a mile from the lake. It was painful to keep walking up the mountain but I wasn't about to wuss out. Coming back down the mountain didn't seem to hurt much at all.

I know that, upon returning home, I should have immediately applied the RICE (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) treatment but you see my guest was thirty five years younger and I wasn't about to show any weakness. Pride goeth before great pain. 

Needles to say I didn't take proper care of myself and have suffered dearly for it. Koty has been going nuts waiting for a walk and since I live on a mountain all trails lead uphill either coming or going. So, today I decided we would take the Tobacco River trail which is flat as a pancake.

The river has come down quite a bit. One casualty I noticed was the old wreck that has been gracing the bank of the river for as long as I can remember. I liked looking at it. It had character. The old dear is probably resting at the bottom of the Koocanusa.

Old wreck on the banks of the Tobacco River

About a half mile into our walk I heard quite a bit of bird chatter. Someone was quite annoyed. The voice sounded like an angry osprey. I slowed my pace and tried to identify where the chatter was coming from. In a gap in the bushes I could see across the river. The first thing I saw was an osprey sitting in a cottonwood. Very nice.

I kept searching the far shore and low and behold right next door I saw an always elegant Great Blue Heron sitting atop a fir tree.

Great Blue Heron

And, a little to the left of the heron was an ever regal Bald Eagle!

Bald Eagle

These birds are pretty common around here but to see all three sitting not twenty feet apart is pretty special even for these parts. I never did see who was making all the racket. Pretty sure it was an osprey and probably upset with all these other guys invading "its" territory. They looked to me as though they were staking out there spots for the fishing derby that is soon to begin. It won't be long now before the river turns red with spawing  kocanee salmon  and these birds will be fishing fools.

I did see one osprey get up and take flight.

Osprey Up, Up and Away

On the return we ran into a whitetail doe and her fawn. The fawns are getting pretty big now, lots of feed this year,  and their spots are starting to fade. This cute little fawn is very leggy.

Whitetail Doe and Fawn
As things turned out deciding to take a lowland, level walk was a great idea. Good for me in every way. I can never quite get over how fortunate I am to be able to see these fabulous images everyday of my life. If this isn't the Garden of Eden it's pretty darned close to it.

Oh and if the above wasn't enough I got this for my sunset.

Dancing Deer Sunset

I will soon be entering my 10th winter here in northwest Montana and I still feel like a kid in a candy store. I sometimes feel as though I must be the luckiest woman alive.

©Kinsey Barnard