If you haven’t been to the Mission Valley before, you might be asking why it’s called a valley.  Smoke from Glacier National Park and other surrounding fires has spread an invisibility cloak over the mountain range for the majority of the last two weeks.

Backlit Forest

It has made for some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  The kind where you can look directly at the sun and not see spots.

Red Sun 2

Fire Beard 2

Fire Wheat 1

Barge 2

The previous weekend we had our grandson Topher with us.  We proceeded to spoil him terribly, and took him fishing and swimming.  One place we went was Lost Lake up Hellroaring Creek.

Lost lake log

Lost seeds

He caught several fish, but I don’t have the photos of them available.  Terry may have to do a separate blog about their fishing adventures.  I’m not a fisherman, but Topher took to it like a duck to water.  We met up with our daughter Ayla, Granddaughter Aurora, and some friends at the park, and had a good time swimming with the kids.

Terry has gotten on this herbal kick.  We’ve been going out collecting white sage, mullein and whatever else we can find.  She’s been making smudges out of the white sage.  A smudge is a bunch of it rolled and wrapped in string to burn like incense, supposedly to rid a dwelling of “bad juju”, as Terry calls it.  I’ve been giving her a hard time, calling it hoakem (a redneck adjective), witchcraft, to the point where she’s gotten defensive about it, which makes it that much more fun!  She keeps saying “It’s Not Witchcraft!”  So, I asked her what juju was.  On wikipedia it says it’s a religion of witchcraft in West Africa.  Don’t tell her, but I’m marking that in my win column. lol.

While searching for Peyote and other herbs, we have seen some nice bucks!

Summer Mulies

Camas Pair

Grain Bucks

This last weekend we went to set up our trail cam on a small pond that we know is frequented by black bears.  It would seem we chose the right place, as we startled a pair of sibling 3 year olds right by the pond.  One of them ran over the ridge into the next draw, while the other climbed a fir tree above the pond.  So I was taking pictures of him while Terry set up the camera.

Up a Tree

Up a Tree

At one point Terry yelled “Look Out!”  I thought she meant there was another bear coming out of the brush, but she was warning me that he was trying to drop a number two on my head!  Luckily, I dodged the doo doo!

Black Silhouette

We scouted the area to see if many more bears had come into the drainage.  We saw sign of at least one more, but these were just the first of what’s likely to be dozens.  The berry crop is looking quite healthy this year!

Berry Delight

On our way home, we encountered a wise old fellow.

Fluffy Great Horned Owl

He was especially wise not to take off too far, as all the swallows would have mobbed him while he was flying.

Great Silhouette

Once again we were treated to a heavenly sunset!

Dusty Sunset 3