Month: May 2014

Forest Exploration and More Mushrooms!

Snail Shells

“Teaching Children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.”
-Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

 

A friend of ours dropped off some Morels for us the other day.  What a great guy as I wouldn’t share any of mine if I found them!

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Today, we decided to go look for some of our own, but mainly it was just to get out into the woods.  My daughter is spending too much time in the house watching, My Little Ponies, on the IPad and not connecting with nature which surrounds us.  When I was younger I was always outside.  My mom would kick us kids out and lock the doors and we couldn’t come back in until she would call us in for lunch.  Of course there weren’t as many other distractions then.  We didn’t have satellite TV yet, no computers, video games, etc… so it was more fun outside anyway, I suppose.  I just remember our imaginations taking off.  We had a big hill behind our house which we would hike up and play in a tree fort we built out of branches and the bushy base of another tree. We spent all summer up there exploring everything.  I may or may not have even started quite a forest fire once practicing my girl scout fire building and extinguishing…..

little falls

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The best thing in the world when we were younger, was riding in the back of the truck in the mountains! Especially with our dogs!
in truck

I always heard where you find snails there are Morels close by.
shell hunting

We didn’t find much for mushrooms, but rounded up (and left) quite a collection of snails!

snails

warren

worm

Headed home after a fun filled afternoon
mtns

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Ninepipes Lodge & Allentown Resturant

Pipes

It is very important (and fun) to search out and highlight the small businesses that keep Montana running and share them with my readers! The first business I would like to showcase for Small Business Saturday, is Ninepipe Lodge & Allentown Restaurant.   Ninepipes, or as the locals call it “Pipes”, is located right off HWY 93, between Ronan and St. Ignatius.  It is on the east side of the Ninepipe and Pablo National Wildlife Refuge, which is a large protected wetland complex and bird sanctuary.  According to their website, it contains over 800 glacial potholes and a 1,770-acre reservoir where over 200 bird species have been recorded.

Ninepipes Lodge provides 25 rooms that can sleep between 2-4 people.  Allentown restaurant and sports bar are conveniently under the same roof as the lodge and have very yummy food.  If you are in the area heading to Glacier Park or the other direction to Missoula and need a clean, comfy place to stay, I highly recommend this establishment!

taxidermy

Some Taxidermy in Sports Bar

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Sports Bar

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Hallway to rooms

Banquet

Banquet Room

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view

View out dining room window

view

View out dining room window

Dining Room

Dining Room

Three Cheese Ravioli with Morel Mushroom Sauce

morelSpring in Montana brings out Morels or as I call them, fungi gold, in the forests around our area.  They are a finicky mushroom that only usually grow in May and June.  They also vary year to year in the location where they grow, and they may or may not be in the same area that we found them the year before.  I grew up looking forward to May and hiking through the forests behind our house looking for these pinecone shaped fungi.  Problem is there are a ton of little pinecones on the forest floor also and trick us constantly.  It is not easy to find these sneaks but when you do get sight of one, it is like we won the lottery!  You have to be careful because the usually grow in groups or patches, so if you see one, there are more likely more nearby!  We found a few the other day so tonight I cooked them up in a mushroom sauce we put over three cheese ravioli.  I usually just fry them in salted butter, but thought I would try it a little different and I do have to say I really liked this recipe.  I used a recipe I found on the internet as a base but changed it a lot so I’ll just explain how I did it.

Ingredients:
1 large package 3 cheese ravioli
4 tablespoons – divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
As many halved & prepped Morel mushrooms as you want **
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, minced
fresh or dried rosemary to taste
2 Tbsp. Half/Half
1/3 – 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
salt

Directions:  IMG_1638
1. Heat water to boiling in a large pot and season with salt
2. While water is heating, melt 2 Tbsp. butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
3. Once sauté pan is hot, add rosemary and mushrooms. I used salted butter so I don’t add anymore salt.
4. While mushrooms are cooking, drop the ravioli into the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon.
5. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the minced shallot to the mushrooms. Cook 2-3 minutes or until garlic and shallots are cooked through.

Mushroom Mixture

Mushroom Mixture

6. Boil ravioli according to directions on the package and drain. Reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water.
7. Add the 1/3 cup pasta water, the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, and the 2 Tbsp. half/half to the mushroom sauté. Boil for about 2 minutes and then add ravioli.

8. Add Parmigiano and toss all together until pasta is covered. Serve Immediately!

Montana Spring Weekend Adventures

In Montana, there are a few tell tale signs that spring is here…

Crab Apple trees are in full bloom suffocating me with their pollen!

Crab Apple trees are in full bloom suffocating me with their pollen!

T-ball is in full swing! (Ha! no pun intended)

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I like to buy other peoples junk

yard sale finds

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Yard sale finds!

 

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The dandelions are taking over!  They seem to be thicker this year.  My allergies are going crazy and I am thinking Maui sounds good right about now…  Lots of mowing, weeding, chicken coop cleaning going on this weekend.  The fun part of owning land and not living in the city in a condo.

Damn you dandelions!

Damn you dandelions!

Chickies are happy

Chickies are happy

Maybe in my next life I can get fake fingernails and manicures

Maybe in my next life I can get fake fingernails and manicures

 

 

Kicking ass and taking names, or not…

in guard

oops, I’m in guard… not good.

Two months ago I stepped out, wait, leaped out of my comfort zone.  I got talked into joined a basic Jiu Jitsu/self defense class taught by a friend of mine who owns Cross Collar Academy.  When I was younger I loved watching WWF and thought it would be sooooo great to have Hulk Hogan as my dad!  I continued watching people beat each other up on TV as I got older, but am so much more classy as now I watch UFC.  So I thought learning more about this Jiu Jitsu thing might be fun.  Plus, even though I have never been in a fight in my life, I’m sure I am tough and will breeze through this class with all my TV knowledge.  Maybe I will be really good at it and people will be scared of me!  Well….  I learned quite fast that I am indeed not tough, but quite a wimp and also am super out of shape.   Like, run over to the trash can and barf, out of shape.  (P.S., that didn’t happen, I would have ran outside to spare the embarrassment!)  I also learned that I can be talked into pretty much anything.  Like joining the more advanced class and buying a Gi and rolling with really strong sweaty guys that don’t take it easy on measly white belt girls.  What was my thought after my first Gi class you ask?  What the hell did I get myself into!?  Actually, that thought is in my head after pretty much every class.  That and I am too fucking old for this!

Lately, I have had so many other things going on I missed about a week of class.  Tonight was my first night back in a while and pretty much got my ass handed to me.  I had to catch up learning the Omoplata and realized my hips just don’t really bend that way!  For the defense portion we learned how to roll out of that horrible shoulder lock.  I like this move as you get to do a summersault type roll and it looks like you know what your doing.  If you haven’t figured out, I just like to look like I know what I’m doing…  I also have the mouth of a trucker.  I just can’t help it.  The profanities spew out of my mouth before I even realize it.  Between all my cussing and my grunting, I sound like a white trash version of the William’s sisters!  Well, I may have mouthed off to my instructor, which is also my friend, but I tend to forget that he is actually my superior on the mats, and he made me pay during sparing.  I don’t think I have been that tangled up and bent in positions like that since I was in uterus!  Lesson learned.  Well probably not, since I have a short term memory…

Mother’s Day 2014 – Not the TV portrayed kind

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“You’re the best mom I ever had” – My 5 year old daughter

 

 

I wake up to four day old tonsillectomy breath huffing in my face and snow falling outside my window.  It is May 11, 2014, Mother’s Day, and there is fricken snow on the ground.  Good thing I waited to transplant my veggies I started in the house!  I try to be positive about it, but It puts a damper on my spirits anyway.  Winter has been long and cold this year, a lot like the winters used to be when I was a kid.  Real Montana winter as the old folks say.  But I am OVER it!!  Spring has been teasing us with some 70 degree days and warm sun on our bodies.  The morels were starting to show their glorious pinecone shapes in the forests.  My dogs were enjoying sunbathing on the deck and frankly, I was enjoying kicking their asses outside so they would quit peeing and shedding on every square foot of my house!  (P.S., I love my old blue heeler and my 3 beastly Chihuahuas, but enough is enough!)  My chickens were relishing the freshly cut grass, the warm dust baths, and all the bugs that were out to enjoy the sunshine and oxygen.  Then, we all woke up to this crap!  Grrrrrr….

Snowing on mothers day!?

Snowing on mothers day!?

Well, they say when life throws you lemons…. I could go out and build a snowman I guess.  Nah!  I think I will stay inside and do absolutely NO cleaning of any sort.  It is Mother’s Day after all.  I am sure it will all get done today by my wonderful husband, 5 year old daughter, and 16 year old Danish exchange student, right?  They will vacuum up dog hair and kid mess, clean their dishes from breakfast, and fold some laundry.  I’m sure of it… Yet I’m not holding my breath!

What are your plans for Mother’s day?  Or is it an overrated “holiday” in your house also?