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