06 December 2012


A couple of weeks ago Hostess Brands called it quits. There was much talk of the demise of the Twinkies. My first reaction was "Good grief do people still eat that junk?" I honestly don't think I've ever eaten one. I do recall eating a Hostess cupcake. My parents never allowed that sort of thing on the ranch. Want a sweet? Go eat an orange. Although, I was put upon as a kid for this at the time I'm actually quite grateful to my parents. There is little doubt in my mind that their ban on junk food has allowed me the excellent health that I have experienced in my nearly 64 years.

I was quite smug in my thinking no great loss that, unless of course you were an employee. Well, I found out that that the Hostess bankruptcy is going to have a profoundly unhappy impact on my lifestyle. I love sourdough bread with a passion. I probably eat a loaf a week all by myself. The absolute best sourdough bread is Boudin but no chance to get that where I live. I do have found memories from when I lived in San Francisco and would go to the bakery at Fisherman's Wharf and buy it still warm. Gads, but that was heaven.

This week when I came off the mountain to pick up supplies at the grocery I had a most unpleasant surprise. The bread section is always on my list. Since I have no chance of getting Boudin Sourdough my substitute is Coeur d'Alene Cracked Wheat Sourdough. I've really grown to love the stuff. This day when I arrived at my mecca the shelves were nearly bare, not just of my beloved sourdough but of nearly every kind of bread. Turns out the bread delivery the store was using was ..... Hostess. No more Hostess no more bread.

I was told there would be bread next week as the store was making arrangement with another distributor but Coeur D'Alene sourdough would be no more. Worse yet I know of no place within a hundred miles to get it. The replacement will be Seattle Sourdough yuck! Be sure to read this review.

So, you see, the ho ho is on me!

©Kinsey Barnard

04 December 2012


A friend sent me this joke and it made me laugh out loud. Since I truly believe laughter is the best medicine I hope it does the same for you!

A guy is driving around the back woods of Montana and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: 'Talking Dog For Sale’
He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
'You talk? ' he asks.
'Yep, ' the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says 'So, what 's your story? '
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so... I told the CIA.  In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. '

'I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running... But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn 't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.’
‘I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. ' 'I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I 'm just retired. '

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
'Ten dollars, ' the guy says.
'Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap? '

'Because he 's a Bullshitter.   He 's never been out of the yard '

11 November 2012


Up until the Fukushima incident I was pretty ambivalent  about nuclear power. Since Fukushima I have become rabidly against it. I have no particular scientific expertise in the subject. But, I have been blessed with an independent spirit and common sense. And my common sense says nuclear energy should be banned.

Before Fukushima I avoided x-rays like the plague, no dentist x-rays, no mammograms and no airports. Since Fukushima no fish.  And since watching this video, The Medical Implications of Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Nuclear Age this morning, no more Hershey's chocolate.

I highly recommend you watch this video. Dr. Helen Caldicot does an excellent job of telling it like it is with respect to nuclear energy and it's ramifications. It's some pretty scary stuff and you will need to set aside an hour to watch it all. This lecture makes it abundantly clear the fallout from Fukushima is under-reported and that our very existence hangs by a thread, not merely because of Fukushima but because of all the reactors and weapons out there.

Just out of curiosity I Googled to find a map of all the nuclear reactors in the United States    also some very scary stuff. I didn't realize there were so many.

Makes me wonder if all the hooptie-do about global warming isn't just misdirection. If you believe Dr. Caldicot, and I do,  will be damned lucky to survive long enough to have it become a problem.

©Kinsey Barnard

06 November 2012


Most late afternoons Koty and I take a walk around the property. With the return to standard time late is suddenly getting early. The walks are mostly just for our enjoyment but it's also when I look for work that needs to be done or finished.

This is burn season, a time when one can burn the slash accumulated since spring without starting the whole forest on fire. Fuel reduction is one of my obsessions. Pine beetles have been at work in this forest and they have killed a lot of trees. Many of those trees stand like giant torches just waiting to be lit. If a fire were to start this place would go up like a torch. The practical reason for the walk this afternoon was to check on a fire to make sure it was burning down as planned.

After tending to fire duties I decided to walk along Koty Bear Creek. I love to listen to the sound of the water cascading down the mountain. Whilst walking along the creek I came across this spider web spread over an old wound in a spruce trunk. It was so perfect in it's design and construction. The first thing that popped into my head was Charlotte's web. I didn't see Charlotte but she had built one fine web.

I have walked this property thousands of times and always marvel at the new and interesting things I see. I am constantly amazed by the industry and the artistry of nature.

©Kinsey Barnard

04 November 2012


Tiny Tim continues to provide lots of entertainment. He can't seem to get enough of the being outside and weather seems to be no deterrent. It's been cold. It's been raining. It's been snowing. And, the little bugger is screaming to go out.

This photo was taken this morning. Timmie is perched in a 100 year old apple tree down in our meadow.

Cat in a Tree

He's got some pretty good camouflage going on.

©Kinsey Barnard

03 November 2012


I am, at heart, a buy and hold investor. The trick is knowing when to buy and hold. As in life, everything in the market runs in cycles. If you buy at the top, or near the top, of a cycle buying and holding can be a very painful experience. Timing is critical short and long term. "Timing in life is everything" is one of my favorite sayings. That is especially true in investing. People who bot at the previous top in gold of around $850/oz in 1980 were in for one heck of a wait. It took until 2008, nearly 30 years, for it to return to that price. Who's got that kind of time to wait? And what about those folks who invested in the NASDAQ in 2000? Their wait is far from over.

In 1998 I started studying gold and the gold market. I became convinced it was a buy and hold investors dream. Gold was universally loathed, as an investment.  In 1999 I started buying gold and gold shares.  Gold was selling at around $300/oz. The HUI, the gold bug index, was averaging in the 60's. I told everyone I knew to buy gold and or gold shares because I was convinced gold was going to $1500/oz.  I got two distinct reactions to my suggestion; a glazed look or a pity the poor fool look. Pity the poor fool was by far the most prevalent. I soon threw in the towel on sharing my insight.

I favored gold shares over physical gold because they provide greater leverage. They also provide more excitement. By 2000 the HUI had been cut in half. There have been times when the sell offs in gold shares have set my hair on fire. I was undeterred in my vision and have held through it all. The HUI has been as high as 600. Ten times your money in ten years isn't all bad. Gold got quite close to breaching $2000. On Friday gold closed at $1678 after dropping nearly $40. The HUI is back 475.

This weekend I will be preparing a shopping list as I intend adding to my gold share collection next week. I must be crazy right? I don't think so. I was clearly wrong about gold going to $1,500. I was too conservative. But then, who could have foreseen The Fed would literally melt down the presses printing money. If you can believe what you hear they intend to provide QE to infinity. It seems they are intent upon destroying the dollar. China is buying gold as fast as it can and encouraging its citizens to do the same. Hmm, I wonder why that is? Could it have something to do with this old saying "He who owns the gold makes the rules"?

Gold has been in a correction for awhile now and Friday may have been the final flush out. If we aren't at the bottom we are getting very close. I think this presents a very attractive opportunity to hop on the gold train if you haven't already.

I was wrong about where the price of gold was headed. But, in 1999 $1,500 sounded to most people like the prediction of a madwoman. I may well be a madwoman, living out here in the Montana wilderness with just my dog, my cat and my camera. But, in view of the world in which we find ourselves, this madwoman now thinks $3,500/oz. is not unrealistic and may also prove to be too conservative.

Even a buy and holder sells one day because the trade has run it's course and there is a new opportunity waiting in the wings. In my opinion that day is still a ways off for gold and the best is yet to come. If you don't own any gold shares or bullion you might want to get some.Your trade won't last as long as mine but I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't another five to eight years left. Those years will include the manic/panic stage.

If I turn out to be right I won't tell you I told you so but please don't tell me I didn't.

©Kinsey Barnard

23 October 2012


Yesterday I had quite the treat watching Timmie meet up with three mule deer. I had been told Timmie didn't like the cold and would stay indoors in the winter. Not so. The little dickens can't wait to go out in the cold and snow.

At first light Timmie was at the door whining to go out. After awhile I looked out the window to see if I could tell what he was up to. Sure enough he was hunting. Voles and mice around the house are in for some real trouble.

Timmie on the hunt

The next thing I knew three mule deer, two does and a buck,  have moseyed up trying to figure out the little creature in the snow. As these three huge beasts closed in on Tiny Tim, he paid absolutely no attention. I don't know if Tim was unafraid of them or just so intent on the hunt he paid them no never mind. In any event he showed absolutely no fear. I was scared for him. :)

Three Mule Deer Closing In
Next thing I know the buck is following Timmie right up to the house.

Timmie Brings Bucky Home

Bucky and Timmie at the Woodshed

Unfortunately, these last two photos have window glare and are hard to see. Too bad because they are the cutest. If I had opened the sliding glass door to get a clear shot there would have been no photos at all. The deer would have taken off like rockets, particularly Bucky. It's hunting season and he'd be shot in a minute if a hunter saw him. The deer seem to sense they are in danger and don't calm down until after hunting season. After hunting season the mulies are quite tame.

I have a sneaky suspicion Timmie is going to be my new favorite thing to photograph. He is really quite the card.

©Kinsey Barnard

22 October 2012


This video would be funny if it was a joke but it's not. The caller is absolutely serious.

I often here the phrase "The dumbing down of America" This woman must have been at the head of the class. Scary to think she even has a driver's license let alone gets to vote.

©Kinsey Barnard

21 October 2012


Well, cowabunga! The extended forecast was for snow showers. Looked like that was going to start the first of the week but, heavens to Betsy it happened last night.

When I awoke this morning there was 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground! That's as big a storm as we normally get in the dead of winter. No shower that.

Now the question is, is this a harbinger of the kind of winter we are in for? Or, is nature blowing Her wad early and it will be a mild one?

One thing's for sure about Montana weather ..... it's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.

©Kinsey Barnard

18 October 2012


Along with the mule deer come the fall colors here at Dancing Deer Ranch. A native Californian, I have come to truly appreciate the seasons after ten years living here. Where I grew up, near Santa Barbara, the temperature was pretty much perfect all the time. A winter temperature, on the coast, was forty degrees. Here in Montana the evenings often get into the forties at night during the summers. In winter you are likely to see forty below.

Down in the meadow, in view of the house, are the remains of a homesteader's cabin . I often wonder how anyone could survive these Montana winters in a place like this. It's easy for me. I have electricity, a wonderfully insulated home,  a four wheel drive vehicle to get me up and down the mountain and indoor plumbing. Can you imagine going to the out house at forty below? A sturdy people these early Montanans.

I digress. The extended forecast calls of rain and snow in the coming days so yesterday afternoon I took a walk in my forest to enjoy the fall colors. They will soon be gone. As usually happens I ended up at Walden Pond, my personal rendition of Thoreau's sanctuary. The pond is surrounded by aspen and cottonwoods and whilst it is beautiful any time of year it is most beautiful in the fall. This is the same pond where I had my moose encounter about a week ago.

Below are a few photos of the beauty my eyes begot.

Walden Pond

Aspen in full fall color

How lucky am I that I never have to leave this blessed place to have all that is nurturing and important to me.

©Kinsey Barnard

16 October 2012


There are many reasons Fall is my most favorite season in Montana. The Fall colors are to die for. The weather is sunny and warm with just a hint of a chill. And, the mule deer return.

For the ten years that I have lived here there has been a seasonal dance between the mule deer and the whitetail. In the spring, the whitetail migrate up the mountain from the valley floor and the mule deer head up into the high country. Then in the Fall the migration is reversed.

Once here the mule deer form a regular part of my landscape and become like family as we all try and survive the cold, snowy Montana winter together. Mule deer are very different than the whitetail. Whitetail are skittish and awkward. The mule deer, after hunting season finishes, are tame and graceful.

It is always a special day for me when the mule deer return. Today is that special day.

I hope the young buck in these photos makes it through hunting season, which is due to commence on Saturday.


©Kinsey Barnard

14 October 2012


On September 27th I adopted a new family member. His name is Tiny Tim, Timmie to his friends.

Since all I know about Timmie's birth is that he is around two years old we will make September 27th his birthday. His coming to us was a rebirth of sorts.

Tiny Tim was named Samson by his previous owner, who had also rescued him. The name seemed incongruous to me from the get go. Timmie is one of the smallest adult cats I've been around. I tried to use the name but couldn't. As I was cuddling him, the second day he was here, the name Tiny Tim just popped into my head. I started calling him Timmie. He responded immediately. It was like it had always been his name.

Timmie really lucked out in that he didn't have to go to a shelter. I found him through word of mouth. Timmie's previous owner was returning to California and was unable to take him along. The kennel owner where I take Koty knew I was looking for a kitty, told me about him and, voila!

When he arrived I set Timmie up in my bedroom and bathroom. I put a child gate on the door to give Koty and Timmie a little time to get acquainted. Timmie headed directly under the bed and there he stayed. Throughout the afternoon I tired to coax him out but to no avail. That evening when I went to bed I tried again. Nada.

I read awhile and then turned out the light. It bothered me no end to think of that little creature, in hiding, all alone in a strange place. After about 15 minutes I could take it no longer. I turned on the light and got down on the floor. He was just out of reach. I decided to try a little food as bait. I sprinkled some in front of him and he went for it. As soon as he had nibbled up the bits he slunk off to the bathroom all on his own. It was like the food was the all clear signal.

I could here him scrabbling in is food and scratching in his litter. I turned out the light feeling much better. A short while later I felt a very slight disturbance on the bed. The next thing I knew Timmie had lay down beside me. There he spent the night and every night since.

Timmie was supposed to be alright with dogs but he doesn't much care for Koty's steely blue stare. So we are still working on getting them comfortable with each other. Timmie runs. Koty chases. Timmie hasn't figured out yet that Koty couldn't catch him if he wanted to. Koty, 91 in human years, isn't quite as fast as he once was. Timmie could jump up on almost anything and be out of harms way. For whatever reason Timmie isn't making any effort to win Koty over. As soon as Timmie sees Koty he takes off running, literally flying over the gate into the bedroom.

I'm sure we'll get things sorted out over time. Meanwhile, it's awfully nice to have Timmie with us. He is a sweet an loving spirit and makes our place just that much more special.

Tiny Tim

©Kinsey Barnard

11 October 2012


Yesterday was Montana in her glory. Fall is hands down my favorite season. The days are warm but with a slight chill in the air, foretelling the coming of winter.

I have been working like a dog in the forest trying to cut up the downed timber. I've now gotten all the good stuff in. Good stuff, by my definition, is fir and larch. I've got a lot of spruce and cottonwood down but they have lowest BTU of the lot. Spruce is a witch to split and since I split all my wood by hand that is a real consideration.

I can't help but stop in the middle of my toil and simply revel in the beauty that surrounds me. The warm sun filters through the trees. The larch, aspen, cottonwood and mountain maple are turning golden. My world is so beautiful it makes me weep. Also slows down the work. I can't help myself I just have to indulge in the beauty.  I don't care. The work will always get done and beautiful moments are what I live for. Moments are what my photography is all about. Moments are what life is all about.

Speaking of moments, last night I had a moose encounter. I was walking my sanctuary trying to determine where I would work next. I have a lot of choices. It was just the most beautiful afternoon. As I approached the larger of my two ponds what did I spy but a beautiful female moose standing on the dam reflecting on the surface of the pond. Just an exquisite site. I moved closer speaking softly. She just stood watching me. I stopped about 100 ft away. I didn't want to scare her away. We spent about ten minutes together and then she peacefully ambled off. I called out my farewell. I didn't follow. It was her afternoon to enjoy as well.

I often find myself, at times like this, saying out loud "God you can take me now. I have been given more than my fair share of beautiful moments."

I don't photograph animals here at the ranch except for the deer and smaller creatures. The larger animals are like celebrities to me and they deserve their privacy. I tried to find a photo on the internet but gave up. The world and the internet is just flooded with low quality crap. Everyone is a "photographer". I couldn't find anything that I would post here even if just for the ambiance. Like most things digital photography is both a boon and a bane.

©Kinsey Barnard

10 October 2012


Yesterday I had my well pump replaced.

It's a pretty simple procedure. I was surprised. They just pull up the pipe the pump is hanging on and replace it. In my case that was about 135 feet of pipe. I'm told well pumps last an average of 10 to 15 years. I'm not complaining my pump was 24 years old.

There really wasn't anything wrong with the old well pump. I just started to get a little edgy about it's age. If the darned thing went out in the winter it would be a really nasty job to try and replace it. I'm not even sure it could be done.  Imagine being stuck out in the middle of nowhere in winter with no water. Not a particularly pleasant thought. I did the replacement as a preventative measure.

The pipe we pulled up was steel. That was replaced with poly pipe, a thick wall, plastic pipe. The electrical wire going down to the pump was replaced as well. The net effect of the new pipe was a drastic reduction in vibration. Before when the pump came on you could here it all over the house. Now it's just a quiet hum. That's a nice bonus.

The worst part of the process was all of the clay sediment that got stirred up. It was so thick, 24 years of undisturbed build up, my under house filter was completely plugged instantly. I ran the water for about four hours yesterday and it's not totally clear yet. I reckon I'll hafta run her some more today to get all the gunk out.

Next up will be the pressure tank. Pressure tanks can have an even shorter lifespan than the pump. I'm not as worried about that as it's an inside job.

My mama told me, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And, I believe it.

©Kinsey Barnard

04 October 2012


One of my favorite amusements/escapes is the reading of fiction. I probably average fifty per year. Thanks to Costco I can feed this addiction fairly reasonably.

I recently picked up "Phantom" by Ted Bell in paperback for $5.99.  It's the story of a mad scientist (Darius), working for Iran,  creating a computer capable of controlling the world. Unfortunately, the machine soon achieves super intelligence and turns on his creator. The hero (Alex Hawke) is an English aristocrat, working for MI6, who is so rich he has his own Gulfstream and a sailing ship 320 feet long, masts ten stories high and weaponry the U.S. military would envy. As you might imagine Hawke saves the day with his larger than life toys. The story is pretty simplistic and corny but fine fodder for light escapism.

What I did find very interesting, and got me to musing, was the last part called "Afterward" in which the author talks about this thing called The Singularity which is apparently very real. Scientist are at this very moment working on a computer that will transcend human intelligence. The Singularity is the moment at which this happens. These ultra-intelligent machines will be called "artilects" and will ultimately be a billion times more intelligent that humans. According to the author achievement of the Singularity could be as little as ten years away.

The movie trailer for The Singularity is Near will give you somewhat of a visual what might happen. Naturally, it only shows the positive implications of achieving the Singularity and it's some pretty cool stuff.

To this old duffer this is some pretty scary stuff. Like everything else that has ever been invented such ultra-intelligent machines can be either a boon or a bain. Such a machine could come up with cures for every known illness and end aging. It could also invent a strain of virus for which there is no cure and wipe out every human on the planet. As in this novel, the machines could could break with their masters and all humanity would be at their mercy. We are told that this couldn't happen as safeguards are built into the systems. But,  I say Murphy to that.

Paul Allen, of Microsoft fame says The Singularity is Not Near and I sure hope he's right. Because I don't think I'm ready for it. I love my totally human existence. I love my life in the Montana wilderness. I am quite content to begin and end and my end isn't that far off. If I were twenty I would probably embrace it. What choice would I have?

©Kinsey Barnard

22 September 2012


These are some amazing statistics showing how things have changed in just the past 100 years.

1910 Ford
 The above 1910 Ford touring car cost $950 and what a beauty! I just purchased a new Ford Expedition in and it set me back $50,000!

Big Red

Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:

************ ********* ************

The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.

Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.

Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower !

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian

Between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.

Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!

Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'

Sugar cost four cents a pound.

Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars.

The population of Las Vegas , Nevada was only 30!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.

Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind,
Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health'

Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

21 September 2012


As mentioned in my previous post EIGHT DAYS IN THE FLATHEAD Koty and I just returned from eight glorious days in the Flathead. Our summer has been pretty much ruined by my stupid decision to use Home Depot for my kitchen remodel. It was a worse nightmare than I could have ever imagined. Every conceivable thing that could go wrong, went wrong. Things like: 12 of 17 cabinets had to be rejected and re-manufactured; I had no water in my kitchen for two months; a remodel that should have taken a few weeks took four months. I could go on and on and one day I will probably tell the whole bloody tale but that's not what this article is about.

 Because of the above I was in a state of complete flux. I am creature of habit and when my world is turned upside down I get off balance. Unfortunately, what happens to me happens to Koty. Because I was constantly waiting around for people to come about the kitchen I was tied to the house. When I wasn't tied to the house I didn't feel like doing what Koty and I love the most, hiking. Prior to our trip Lakota was really starting to slow down and it pained me greatly to watch. I was worried that he would not even be able to make it in and out of Clementine (our RV). And sure enough when we got set up down in the Flathead he struggled with the steps. It broke my heart.

 My mission for this trip was to get in as much hiking and walking as Koty could handle. So we hiked everyday and took a walk in the evening. Each day I watched as Lakota got seemingly stronger. Until, by the time we left for home, he had actually gotten a little of the spring back in his gait. The effects of getting a good, daily dose of exercise was nothing short of miraculous. I came to realize that I had been literally killing my dog by not keeping to our normal active lifestyle. I hadn't been doing my own health any favors either. I lost weight from the kitchen debacle but it wasn't a healthy loss.

 I continue to give Koty Supraglan and flaxseed hulls daily. I can't say that these remedies are any kind of cure. Koty is still losing his hair. I suspect if he lives long enough he may end up hairless. He still drinks copious amounts of water and piddles in kind. His belly is bloated, his liver enlarged and his appetite insatiable. But, what I think these remedies may be doing is slowing the effects of these symptoms and offering him an extended happy period of time.

The point I would like to make here is how important exercise is not only for your pet but for its owner. Nothing I have tried to help Koty with is Cushing's has had a greater effect on his health than exercise. Whether your dog is sick or not take him/her for a walk everyday. The benefits for your pet as well as for yourself will be immeasurable.  You will most certainly have a longer, happier life together.

Koty will be 13 on October first. The average lifespan of a husky is thought to be 12 to 15 years. Going forward I will consider each day of quality life together as a supreme gift. I will see to it that Koty gets the most effective medicine available every single day, exercise!

Koty exploring Lion Lake Sept. 2012
©Kinsey Barnard

20 September 2012


Just got back from eight days in the Flathead. We had a great time. Very relaxing. Koty is a new man when he can hike every day. My welcome home committee was kind of a bummer. Not fifty yards from my gate the Forest Service was putting in culverts on the road. The road is only a single lane so I was stuck for over two hours waiting for them to finish. LOL! the joys of living in a National Forest. It made me kind of antsy to be that close to home and not able to get there but I made the best of it. Prepared some lunch and took a nap. Koty kept watch.

Kinsey Barnard

05 September 2012


I came across this little story I thought was quite cute and quite true!

A man wrote a letter to a small hotel in a Midwest town he planned to visit on his vacation.
He wrote: "I would very much like to bring my dog with me. He is well-groomed and very well behaved. Would you be willing to permit me to keep him in my room with me at night?"
An immediate reply came from the hotel owner, who wrote: SIR: "I’ve been operating this hotel for many years. In all that time, I’ve never had a dog steal towels, bedclothes, silverware, or pictures off the walls.
I’ve never had to evict a dog in the middle of the night for being drunk and disorderly. And I’ve never had a dog run out on a hotel bill. Yes, indeed, your dog is welcome at my hotel. And, if your dog will vouch for you, you’re welcome to stay here, too."

Kinsey Barnard 

PS: I just realized when I posted this that it is my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday Mama! She would have been 99.

31 August 2012


Just want to wish readers a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

Coward that I am, I generally stay at the ranch and off the roads during holidays. Especially since my area has become a satellite province of Canada. These Canadians drive like the devil's chasing them and sadly they cause horrific accidents. But, nobody says or does anything because they are scared to death to loose their business. The truth is that without the Canadians the Tobacco Valley and the Flathead would be economic wastelands.

I also want to apologize to my many readers who have left comments which I never responded to or posted. I didn't know about them until this morning. Google has been messing around "making things better" and stopped sending me comments via e-mail. I just thought no one was commenting. This morning I had to log in using my ID and Passwords and there were all these comments I never knew about. Sorry about that. I do enjoy your comments and love to engage. Please don't stop.

Again, have a happy and safe Labor Day.

©Kinsey Barnard

30 August 2012


This is a very short bear story. Last night a marauding bear came up on my deck and had at my Baby Weber. I've got a big old honking gas grill which I never use. Charcoal is the only way to BBQ for this old dame.

I've read where bears will go after your grill if you leave it out. My Baby Weber has sat out on the deck for ten years without anyone bothering it. Well, now I believe it. Actually, I always did but it wasn't anything to bother about as far as I'm concerned.

This is a short story and I only bother to tell it because these are the things that texture my life in this place. Such occurrences light up my day with wonder and gratitude. To have wild things as a part of my daily life is a gift beyond measure.

I forgot to mention that when I returned from the Promptcare place to get my stitches the other day I nearly ran into a beautiful young black bear. His coat was simply exquisite. It looked like pure sable. He ran down the road in front of me going about thirty and then darted into the forest. No chance you would ever out run a bear.

©Kinsey Barnard

27 August 2012


In fairness I haven't tried every burger in Whitefish but the one I had at the Craggy Range Bar and Grill is the best burger I've had in Montana, so far. And, that's ten years of burger eating. So, I'm betting it's the best burger in Whitefish.

What made it so good for me? In a word the meat. I don't recall reading how much it weighed but it looked like at least a half pound to me. It was extremely tasty, not greasy and best of all I could order it cooked the way I like it which is medium rare.

Speaking of rare; it is mighty rare that you can get a burger that isn't cremated beyond recognition. This was not always so. But somewhere along the line salmonella got everyone so worked up and liability conscious you couldn't find anything but cremated burgers. Mind you if I ate fast food burgers I would definitely want a cremated piece of meat. I don't trust those kitchens. In my opinion it speaks volumes about the Craggy Range kitchen that they are comfortable offering a burger the way you please.

The other thing I liked about this sandwich was that it was a classic burger; meat, bun, fresh lettuce, tomato and onion. A beer six pack caddy supplies all the condiments you could want. Pure simplicity. I reckon a lot of places come up with these conglomeration burgers, where they throw on everything but the kitchen sink, to hide the crappy, cremated meat many restaurants serve. Apparently a lot of people like them but they are not for the hamburger purist. And, I'm not sayin' they aren't good too. Just sayin' if you want the true measure of a burger the classic is the standard.

It was a lovely summer afternoon so I ate on the patio. The server was exceptional. All around pleasant experience did I have at the Craggy Range.

If you should find yourself in Whitefish with a hankering for a good burger I suggest you drop by the Craggy Range Bar & Grill. Also, in the plus column is, and as the name suggests, a full bar.

© Kinsey Barnard

24 August 2012


Egads, I can hardly believe August is almost over and I haven't made one post to my blog.

I've been pretty consumed with a kitchen remodel that has turned into the project from hell. Everything that could possibly go wrong has and some things I would have thought were beyond the realm of possiblity.

Then, to ice my messed up cake, three days ago Koty bit me to the tune of 5 stitches. Like most accidents it was completely due to doing something stupid. I was on the phone with Home Depot discussing this hateful project when Koty went to the screen door and, using his nose, let himself out. Koty is a runner so my first instinct was to stop him by any means possible. I grabbed his tail. Big mistake. Under any circumstances Koty does not like his tail fooled with. So he did the same to me as I did to him, attacked without thinking. It was pretty shocking for both of us.

This is one of those rare occasions that I intentionally seek medical attention. With blood flowing, down to the mountain to the Prompt Care place I flew. Turned out I hadn't had a tetanus shot for 45 years so I got one of those and five stitches. I also got some advice from the doctor that you probably wouldn't get just anywhere. He told me, in all seriousness, not to "go home and shoot the dog". I had to laugh. Only in nowhere Montana would a doctor even think it necessary to say such a thing.

To say Koty was remorseful would be an understatement. After I got home he stayed by my side the rest of the day. The poor guy. He's battling this damned Cushing's thing whilst trying to cope with the aging thing. It's hard for both of us.

Getting old is a bitch even for dogs.

©Kinsey Barnard

29 July 2012


This week I came across a few quotes I found thought provoking and thought I'd pass them along.

""Beware of the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor,
for patriotism is indeed a double edged sword. It emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. When
the drums of war have reached a fervor pitch, and the blood boils with hate and the mind is closed, the leader
will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by
patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and do it gladly so."

How do I know?

I know, for this is what I have done.

And I am,


 "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. "– Ludwig von Mises

The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kinsey Barnard 

Photography Prints

16 July 2012


Last Monday I wrote an article, "WHAT'S UP WITH INDIANA?" . What prompted me was an article I read stating that the government (read you and me) have paid for $14 billion in bogus unemployment benefits. The article also revealed that Indiana was the worst offender having paind out more in bogus payments than righteous.

I have also had my own experience with Indiana in that the kitchen cabinets Home Depot pushed on me come from a company called Innermost located in Indiana. Innermost is owned by a company called Elkay Manufacturing in Oak Brook, IL.

My experience thus far with Innermost has been a nightmare. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. 70% of the cabinets had to be replaced due to manufacturing flaws. Cabinets have been shipped upside down. The crown molding had to be replaced. The 1/4 round base board molding had to be replaced. A few booboos are to be expected but this company it has serious manufacturing problems, quality control issues and heaven only knows what else.

This morning I came across an article about GARY INDIANA and the decline in to which this city has fallen. You really need to click on the link, scroll through the photos and watch the video near the bottom to experience the level of blight. I'm not sure where the Innermost factory is located but if Gary is any indication of what's going on with Indiana it's really ugly.

If this country is out of the recession, as we are incessantly told, I wonder how the folks in Gary feel about that? My personal opinion is that we never got out of the recession. We've just been limping along waiting for the other shoe to drop which may be any time now. Once it does I'm betting things will get worse than they were in 2008.

©Kinsey Barnard

14 July 2012


After my morning rant yesterday regarding the made in China uniforms I decided Koty and I needed to get out in the woods for a dose of vitamin N. That would be a dose of Nature.

Following the monsoon, which was a corker (see WHITETAIL ON THE FLY), the temperature has risen dramatically and is now regularly in the eighties and nineties. So, if Koty and I are to get our time in the woods in we have to go early before it gets too hot.

Thanks to the torrential rains the wildflowers in the forest are as prolific as I have ever seen. My personal favorite is the wood lily. Generally, they are out in June but came late this year in abundance. There are photos of them below.

Whilst walking along I couldn't seem to stop myself from thinking about that stupidity of that MADE IN CHINA UNIFORMS SHOULD BE BURNED debacle. And, before I knew it something else occurred to me. This is another classic example of how the middle class in America gets the hindmost. The original uniforms were designed and made by Ralph Lauren. All American right? Well, accept for the part about the uniforms being made in China. I don't know how much the contract was for but Lauren should have donated them for all the free publicity he'll get. The publicity alone will generate hundreds of millions in revenue for the Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. I seriously doubt that he did. So, Lauren who is reportedly worth $7.5 billion gets the uniform contract and China gets the jobs. If you check out Lauren's Wikipedia it's pretty clear he even does more retail international markets. I do not begrudge Lauren his billions and, as far as I'm concerned, it is his right to do business wherever and however he chooses. But, for the Olympic Committee to choose him to make the Olympic uniforms was just wrong. Whilst the US struggles to provide more jobs the Olympic Committee gives the contract to a company where most of the employees, manufacturing and retail, are not on American soil? Seems like the new American way is the guys at the top take care of each other, Lauren is a big Obama supporter, and us little guys get what the bird left on the limb.

 Now for the best part of the post. The part that contains massive doses of vitamin N the wildflower photos.

©Kinsey Barnard

13 July 2012


I couldn't help but comment on this headline I saw this morning. The actual headline read  "Lawmakers Want Made in China Uniforms Burned".

Unlike most people my initial outrage wasn't about the uniforms, although I do think someone should be taken to task for such an incredible faux pas. What really got me worked up was the fact that a US Senator, Harry Reid, said the uniforms should be burned, as though there was something evil about the uniforms themselves because they were made in China.

The arrogant ambition of legislators to try and grab headlines in an election year is a travesty. The stupidity of our leaders seems to know no bounds. If I were China I would be incredibly insulted by such rhetoric. As a country we have sold our souls for junk and trinkets. But you can hardly blame China for feeding our mindless gluttony. Instead we insult the ones who hold a sledge hammer of debt over our heads?

Reid, like most politicians today, is just a self promoting tool. Anyone with a bit of sense would have chastised the real culprits, the Olympic Committee. What were they thinking? Well, clearly, just about the bottomline. How stupid are they? The Olympics is all about symbolism and national pride. Surely, "the greatest nation on earth" can afford to make their own Olympic uniforms? Or maybe we can't?

Right now the Chinese economy is slowing down due to the global economic situation. The Chinese are not stupid. They are inscrutable. They can ill afford to do to us what I'm sure they would really like to do. But, one day that will no longer be the case and all these stupid insults will come home to roost. And who do you think will suffer? Not Harry Reid. He'll be either still on the hill or retired on a pension any of us would give our right ventricle to have. No, we will not only be paying for Harry's lavish lifestyle but also for whatever eventual payback China has in mind for us. The Chinese are not only inscrutable, they are also a very patient people with memories like elephants.

The arrogance, stupidity and incompetence of the people in Washington really frightens me sometimes.

©Kinsey Barnard

09 July 2012


This morning I came across an article titled GOVERNMENT OVERPAID $14 BILLION IN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS A few paragraphs into the article I read that the state of Indiana was the worst offender actually making more wrong payments than right.  It got me to wondering what's up with Indiana?

Back in March I lost my head and decided to renovate the kitchen this summer. I started the process the first week of April and I'm still nowhere near finished. The cabinets arrived later than promised so the installation did not begin until June 6th. Upon inspection it turned out the majority of the cabinets were defective. Unfortunately, the installer did not inspect the new cabinets before yanking out the old, as he was supposed to do, so I have been without water in my kitchen for over a month, with all my kitchen paraphernalia strewn across the house collecting dust.

When the original cabinets arrived each proudly displayed a sticker saying it had been inspected by "Linda". I don't know what was up with Linda but if she actually inspected those cabinets she must have been having a very bad day.

From the outset we knew that at least one cabinet needed to be replaced because it was the wrong configuration and someone caught that mistake just  after the cabinets had left the factory. When the cabinet arrived it was upside down in the box. The box had arrows and labels on its exterior indicating which way was up but somebody missed that completely.

In truth, trouble had shown up earlier when a separate package of four crown molding sticks had shown up with two sticks needing to be replaced. I thought nothing of it at the time. As it turned out it was a harbinger of things to come.

After reading the above article a light bulb went off. The cabinets were manufactured by InnerMost an Indiana company. I've always thought of mid-westerners as a hard working and trustworthy lot. Many of them migrated west to my native state of California back in the forties and fifties. We quite liked having them. But, after my experience with the cabinets and reading the above article I have to wonder what's up with Indiana?

This cabinet experience was what motivated me to write WHERE IS JOHN GALT? It seems as though we all want to buy American products but my experience certainly hasn't filled me with confidence.

The replacement cabinets are due to arrive this week. I've got my fingers crossed all will be well with them.

©Kinsey Barnard

05 July 2012


It's been well over a month since I gave Dish the boot and went with Netflix. I'm still enjoying Netflix as much as when I first signed up. It is, IMO, a terrific value.

I recently watched a Robert Redford movie called The Conspirator. I don't always agree with Redford's politics but I have always admired him as an actor and film maker. The Conspirator is about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the subsequent trial of Mary Surratt who ran the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators hung out.

When the government rounds up the conspirators Mary is caught up in the net and thrown into prison with the rest. Surratt is defended by a reluctant young lawyer who by the end of the movie believes that Mary is a victim herself. Her only crime being she owned the boarding house and spawned one of the actual conspirators. It was Mary's own son who brought the conspiracy into her home.

Instead of being tried by a jury of her peers Mary was tried by military tribunal. Her treatment was appalling and the bias toward convicting her pervasive. The secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, is hell bent on hanging Mary. He really could care less about her guilt or innocence. He simply wants her hung and will use his considerable power to have his wishes carried out.

Over the course of the trial Surratt wins over her reluctant young lawyer and in the end a deal is struck so that Surratt may escape the hangman's noose. For no apparent reason, other than an over the top ego, Stanton talks president Johnson into reneging on the deal at the eleventh hour. Mary swings with the rest.

This isn't the best Redford film I've ever watched, by far.  I do trust that Redford tried to make the movie as accurate as possible. And, it left me thinking our government has been rife with corruption and power hungry, soulless politicians since its inception. That their have been those in power playing fast and loose with our liberties all along. The older I get and the more I learn I realize what I was taught in school was carefully crafted propaganda. It makes me wonder if the America I grew up loving ever existed at all except in our minds.

©Kinsey Barnard

03 July 2012


Yesterday I saw this whitetail deer pop out of the grass and take off. Besides the deer there is something else of note in the photos. The grass,  it is so high and lush green it's almost unreal. They say the monsoon will be over starting tomorrow. It's has been a monsoon of epic proportions here in Montana. I've had over thirty inches here on my mountain.

©Kinsey Barnard

02 July 2012


I have written previously in this space how much I enjoy Gardenburgers. It has, for sometime, been one of my favorite breakfasts with fried eggs. I slip the eggs on top of the burger and pretend it’s a type of eggs Benedict.

I was introduced to Gardenburgers by my favorite store, Costco. For a couple of months now the Kalispell Costco has not carried them, much to my dismay. I kept waiting, hoping they would come back as items often do.

Finally, in desperation, I took action. Every time I was asked at check out “Did you find everything?” I answered with a resounding “no” and gave my pitch for the return of Gardenburgers. I dropped a note in the suggestion box. I posted on Costco’s Facebook page. I got nowhere.

Last week I was in Costco and they had a demo stand offering a taste of Morningstar Veggie Burgers, the item that had replaced Gardenburgers. I tried them but did not care for them. My frustration grew.

Next I went on the internet and Googled Gardenburgers. I filled out a customer service form asking how I could get Gardenburgers back in my Costco. The reply I got in return was rather baffling. They suggested I try Morningstar. Dim wit that I am, I wrote back asking “Why are you pushing another product? Aren’t you profit motivated?”

I couldn’t get it out of my mind, Gardenburger suggesting I buy Morningstar. Why would they do that I asked myself? The answer came to me. They might do it if the same company owned them. Sure enough, a little further Googling revealed both companies are owned by Kellogg. I didn’t mind so much Morningstar but that Kellogg owns Gardenburger felt like a betrayal.

A little more research found this article by the Organic Consumers Association  (I wish people would date their articles). If you’re interested Google “Kellogg’s and GMO’s to read more about their attitude on the subject.

I’m not an organic foods fanatic but I do include them in my diet whenever possible. I do have trust issues with big business ethics. I think corporations can and will rationalize just about anything to make a buck. I don’t know why Kellogg is pushing Morningstar over Gardenburger but I seriously doubt it has anything to do with my best interests.

All I can say is “Costco, don’t bother getting Gardenburgers back in your freezer. I won’t be buying them or Morningstar’s from here on out.”

©Kinsey Barnard

29 June 2012


One of my all time favorite novels is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Random House 1957). Not only is it a great work of fiction, it is quite thought provoking reading. In a nutshell it is the story of the demise of capitalism in America. Government intervention in business becomes so pervasive and destructive to creativity and independent thought that the best and brightest, led by John Galt, go on strike. They just walk away from their businesses and hang together in Colorado. Meanwhile the country crumbles from within because the only people left are the mediocre freeloaders.

John Galt is the hero of the book. Galt informs citizens that the men of intellect are on strike, that they require freedom of thought and action, and that they refuse to work under the dictatorship in power. The thinkers won't return, Galt says, until human society recognizes an individual's right to live his own life. Only when the moral code of self-sacrifice is rejected will the thinkers be free to create, and only then will they return.

Government involvement in our lives took another huge step yesterday with the Supreme Court ruling on Obama's mandatory healthcare edict. I guess if you are a health insurance company it's great news. I mean how can you miss if the government decrees everyone must buy your product?

At the same time our ever more fascist government is forcing people to use establishment medical practices it is waging war on anyone who tries to offer alternative methods or grow clean food. I'm not usually a conspiracy nut but this is all very fishy to me. It is documented fact that hundreds of thousands of people die each year from hospital errors, physician errors, and dangerous pharmaceuticals. So why are we now being forced to use this most flawed system?

Instead of approaching healthcare from a sensible angle, like prevention, the government is now actually dictating people line up and get into the system. IMO, this is completely and utterly insane. If this government wants to be a dictatorship why don't they make it law that people must exercise thirty minutes a day? That would probably result in an enormous reduction in healthcare costs and it wouldn't cost anyone a penny, either the individual or the collective taxpayers. Oh, silly me. That's no good. The new American way requires that special interests must be enriched at the expense of the people .... ALWAYS!

I heard Donald Trump interviewed after the ruling and he said that many of his friends who own businesses would most likely just fold, they could not remain profitable with the added burden. Another nail in the coffin of entrepreneurship. Another win for corporate dominance. It's what got me thinking about Atlas Shrugged.

Ayn Rand knew a thing or two about the brutality of Communist tyranny. She was born in Russia in 1905 and witnessed first hand the Bolshevik Revolution, the Communist conquest of Russia, and the political oppression that followed. As I watch our liberties stripped from us one by one, day by day, I wonder where we are headed in this country. I wonder "Where is John Galt?"

If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged I recommend you read it. Even if the message doesn't resonate with you it is a highly entertaining novel.

©Kinsey Barnard

28 June 2012


There is no one who loves this country more than I. But just because I love it does not mean I cannot see it's foibles. It doesn't mean I have to buy into what the charlatans in Washington and the corporate elites are doing to the country I love so much.

Elections in this country have become nothing more than puppet shows.  If anyone really believes we have a two party system they are lost in a haze. Our two party system is pure illusion. What we have is a one party system with two flavors. Vote Democrat if that rhetoric appeals to you. Vote Republican if that rhetoric floats your boat. It matters not. Once in office these actors do as they are told. In a nutshell that is to sell the people of this country down the river.

In order to promote this illusion people are told that to vote is their patriotic duty. But, this patriotism is nothing more than a tool for manipulation. They choose the candidates. You get to vote for what they allow you to vote for. Elections have become such big business that no ordinary person could ever run. No you have to be "connected" because without vast sums of money you wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. The example that illustrates my point perfectly was George Bush junior. Seriously? The best this country could come up with for a presidential candidate was the son of a former president and an elitist? No, he was chosen for us. Look at Ron Paul. He was an outsider and until it became embarrassing, the media completely blacked him out. Paul never had a chance.

Several elections ago I made the decision that I would not vote in a presidential election until I could vote "for" a candidate as apposed to what I found I was doing, voting for the lesser of evils. The exact election was when they put up junior. I have been called unpatriotic for taking this stance. I think the opposite. I think I am a true patriot for not buying into a corrupted system. Voting is the only thing they can't truly control. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Who knows what they can do with these computerized voting machines.

Can you imagine what would happen if they held an election and no one showed up? It would render the government illegitimate. It would be the shot heard around the world. We could take this country back if the people wake up from their dreamworld and take a stand.

I'm sure most people cannot conceive what I'm trying to say here and our great country will continue to be sold down the river by the drones. But, to my own heart I must be true. I refuse to be a part of this ugly charade. I will vote when there is someone to vote for not against. Unfortunately, that will not happen until the people demand it their rights instead of complacently taking what's offered to them.

©Kinsey Barnard

27 June 2012


Whilst Colorado and other western states are literally burning up, in northwest Montana we are having a particularly wet monsoon. I have already had over thirty inches here at the ranch.

Yesterday, I drove down to the Flathead to run errands. I knew it was going to rain but I had no idea how hard. By the time I arrived home the Forest Service road was washed out in several spots. I could only cross my fingers in the hopes my driveway had not washed out too. My rain gauge showed an inch and a quarter had been deposited in my absence. A huge amount in a such a short time on ground already saturated. I've spent considerable time and effort re-engineering the driveway and that work has paid off. My drive came through in perfect shape.

As I look out the window at all the lush green grass and the lush new growth on the forest trees I can't help but count my blessings that here in northwest Montana we have water in abundance. In fact we have much more than we need. Too bad there isn't some way to share it with those western states that are so very dry. It's not fair but then so little in life is.

Whitetail in Tall Grass 06-27-12

Colorado Fires Burning Out of Control

©Kinsey Barnard

25 June 2012


For my birthday back in January a dear friend, here in the valley, gave me a jar of Calendula Salve for my birthday. My friend makes the salve from calendula flowers she grows in her garden. I stuck the jar in the medicine cabinet and forgot all about it, mostly because I hadn't inflicted upon myself any owies requiring medical attention.

Last month I read in a magazine that calendula was good for cold sores. I have been plagued with the things since I was a child. Any exposure to the sun and my mouth blows up like a balloon. As little as ten minutes exposure and my lips are cooked. People probably wonder why I wear a hat all the time. It isn't a fashion statement. But, it does go with my mountain woman image.

As luck would have it, shortly after reading the above mentioned article I walked down to the front gate without my hat and, of course, I got a blister the next day. It took me a couple of days to remember the calendula. I didn't get the ointment on the sore right away but it sure seemed to me the blister healed much quicker.

A few days ago Koty gifted me with a really nasty wound. My parents passed along some great genes for which I am grateful but along with the good ones I also got some that aren't so special. From my mother I inherited the tendency for the skin on my arms and legs to lose all it's collagen and become thin as paper. My skin literally tears like paper mache. Seriously, my arms look like those of an eighty year old. It's really ugly. Luckily, for the unsuspecting viewing public, my skin allergy to the sun is total so I keep myself completely covered, always.

The other day Koty jumped up on me and, through my shirt, tore a 3/4 inch chunk of skin up on my forearm with his dew claw. It was nasty. I thought "Aha! Another opportunity to see what the calendula can do".

I  got the bleeding stopped, cleaned up the wound and applied the calendula. Within hours the heat was out of the wound. By the next day the swelling was all but gone and I was well on the mend. I usually use Neosporin for cuts and scraps with good results but the calendula seems to act even more quickly. It's been three days now and the wound is practically healed. I continue to put salve on it a couple of times a day because now I'm interested to see how much of a scar will remain. Not that I care but as a point of interest.

To quote the ingredient label (all handmade) Calendula flower infusion in organic olive oil, safflower oil, Vitamin E, lavender oil, beeswax". Calendula flowers are a type of marigold.

As I already mentioned, I have always been a Neosporin user for cuts and scraps but not only do I like the idea of this natural remedy but it seems to work much more efficiently. I've never found anything very effective for the mouth blisters so the calendula will be a great blessing. Mother Nature really does do it better!

If you aren't lucky enough to have a friend to make calendula salve for you there are lots of sources on the internet, just Google calendula ointment or salve.

The Ever Lovely Marigold

©Kinsey Barnard

23 June 2012


Around here we have big problems with invasive weeds.  Weed control is a serious business. The best known and much despised is napweed but I also am having a dickens of a time with Canadian Thistle. Those thistle can grow, and frequently do, taller than me.

One side of my property fronts a forest service road and everyone who comes up here imports something or other. The weeds I can forgive because it's no one's fault. The beer cans and other litter not so much. The majority of my napweed are along this line and relatively easy to get at but I have had the feeling I was losing ground. It seems like it just keeps spreading.

The thistle is even more difficult because it can be found throughout my forty acres. This is rough mountain terrain not pool table flat like down in the valley. Forty acres isn't all that big as Montana land goes but it seems gargantuan when trying to hunt down thistle amongst the trees and undergrowth. The monsoon this season has brought incredible moisture, around thirty inches. Believe me when I say It's a Jungle Out There!

I decided that this year I was going to really wage war on these dastardly weeds. I contacted the forest service to get a recommendation for herbicide and other advice on how to attack these weeds. Milestone was recommended for the herbicide. That was good advice but,  everything else I was told about treating the weeds with it was complete bupkus. In my experience that's par for the forest service. Also, the advice I got at the CHS, the ag. store where I purchased it, $110.00/qt., was totally useless. I know this because I called Milestone in Michigan and got the low down directly from the horses mouth.

I ordered up an ATV sprayer from Northern Tool and assembled it yesterday. I was in a hurry because according to the forest service I needed to spray immediately as this is the optimum time. The guy even suggested I not wait for my sprayer but get after it with the backpack sprayer. Thank goodness I blew that idea off.

I got the sprayer put together, pressure checked and ready to go in about and hour and a half. Thank goodness I am math challenged because when it came to figuring out the mix rate I was lost and had to seek help. I couldn't figure out the rate card to save my soul. I called CHS to get their input on the mix rate but didn't feel comfortable with what I was told. So I Google Milestone and called them directly. CHS had told me to use 5 oz. Milestone told me 1.75 max. Using too much can render the herbicide ineffective.

I also learned, from Milestone, that I didn't want to treat the napweed until they were in full bolt and the thistle not until they were in bloom. My tax dollars at work. Yours too BTW.

So now I wait to do battle. Those buggers are in for it now! Below is a photo of my battle wagon equipped with gun and ammunition.

ATV with North Star Spot Sprayer
©Kinsey Barnard

22 June 2012


The paint on the woodshed was long overdue for maintenance. Looks to me like mine is the first re-paint and that shed must be thirty years old. Amazing the thing hasn't collapsed when you think how harsh the weather is around here, -20 in the winter +100 in the summer.

Actually, the weather pattern has changed somewhat since I came here ten years ago. Summers are cooler and winters are warmer. Suits me just fine. Still, the weather is pretty severe and not for the feint of heart.

The paint on the old dear was so taxed that the color matching gizmo couldn't get a read on it so I had to choose a different color. I chose a brown that blends nicely with the surroundings. Foolishly, I purchased only a gallon and that thirsty old plywood gulped up the whole thing with only half of the shed covered. Well, drat!

Just looked out the window and saw two doe, one whitetail and one mule deer. A very unusual sight to see, the mule deer still here at this time of year. Usually, by this time, they are long gone to the high country. I have this feeling things are changing in more ways than we know.

Whitetail & Mule Deer Doe 6-22-12
©Kinsey Barnard

21 June 2012


Finally looks like we are going to get a break from the monsoon. This year it has been something, never ending rain. I've had close to thirty inches. The rivers are running bank to bank. The highest I think I've ever seen. Lake Koocanusa is right up to the tree line.

The nice thing about it is that everything is emerald green. If you want to see Montana at it's greenest June is the time to come. But bring your raincoat.

©Kinsey Barnard

20 June 2012


At last, I saw my first fawn this morning. I was on my way down to change the position of my solar panels and there they were in the meadow, a little bitty baby nursing it's mother.

A fellow I know said he thought maybe the rut was late last fall which would explain the lateness of seeing babies. Whatever, I'm glad their here. They are a beautiful part of the spring/summer experience here in Montana.

©Kinsey Barnard

19 June 2012


Believe it or not there was a time when beef did not come in shrink wrapped styrene trays. One actually went to a butcher and if you did not see what you wanted in the case your butcher would custom cut your order whilst you waited.

Sadly, the local butcher has pretty much gone the way of the dodo bird and the quality of beef in most super markets is pretty grim. Where the quality is good the price is usually so high it will give you a nose bleed. There is a place where you can get the best of quality and price and that is at Costco. Costco beef is as good or better than any place I know of and we all know the prices are the best generally available. I could have called this article just getting the best out of your beef but I don't buy my beef anywhere else. No matter how you prepare your meat you have to start with the best quality to get the best experience.

I learned about Costco beef from my father. My father knew beef. Born in 1913, raised on a cattle ranch and a self taught gourmet cook he knew more about barbequing than anyone I have ever known. When the independent grocer he had traded with for years went belly up he was at a loss as to where to find good quality meat. He discovered Costco. My father liked a good deal as well as the next fellow but when it came to his beef cost was not the issue. He bot his beef at Costco because he felt it was the best around. He passed that on to me and I have been a Costco beef buyer ever since.

He also taught me how to make it even better. Back in the old days a butcher used to age his beef by hanging it in the cooler for a number of days before selling it. Today things move so fast through the distribution channels, beef never really gets a chance to rest and age. Aging meat makes all the difference in the world. The meat gets more flavorful and tender. So, here's the trick to getting the most from your Costco beef. After you get it home let it sit in the refrigerator for four or five days before using or freezing. If the meat turns a little dark red around the edges that is not bad meat. It's just the effects of oxygen.

If you've not ever done this and are an avid meat eater, such as myself, you should give this a try. I think you will be glad you did.

©Kinsey Barnard

18 June 2012


I have been waiting and waiting to see this year's crop of fawns. Normally they are born in May and out and about by June. I have had at least a dozen does, both whitetail and mule deer,  hanging about but have yet to see a fawn. That there are whitetail and mule deer here together is also unusual. The mule deer usually move to the high country as the whitetail come up from the valley.

Last night I think I heard a fawn squeal. I hope the coyotes or the wolves aren't killing them. That certainly could be the case.

Seems to me things are a changing in nearly all respects. There is an old Chinese saying "May you live in interesting times". I think we are.

The above photograph of a fawn frolicking was taken June 19th last year.

©Kinsey Barnard