Montana visit with visitors.

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Meanwhile, back on the Montana ranch…

Kaye and Walt joined us in SLC, and we all drove up to the Montana spread. Elizabeth and I have done enough years of work on the homestead house that it can be mistaken for a rugged B&B.

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The lower end at sunset.

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Elizabeth leads Kaye & Walt to the secret rhubarb patch in the woods.

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Kaye’s Ohio farm-girl self takes the lead.

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A cool yard with a stream and big trees makes for birdwatching and long reads.

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The backyard shade tree needs triage- about two day’s worth.

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If out of new cuts, there are sloppy old cuts to clean up. 

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Walt sends the branches over the corral fence.

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Upper cable work begins, tying the tree together up high.

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Finding leverage and wishing I had a prehensile tail.

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Hummingbirds swept by with encouragements.

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Walt checks the ladder position he recommended. Tight.

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Threading the bolt by feel.

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Cable stranded with tension. (It will let go overnight and the fix will take some doing.)

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The split from the crook to the ground is why the upper cable, and now: cross-rods.

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The long bit is sunk 16″, now the extender is added and I plug along ’til entirely through.

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Language supervisor.

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Rod #2 of 3; Walt checks the tree’s vitals.

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Three rods at cross-directions stabilize the trunk.

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After the cable lets go overnight I redo the big cable with more tension and a better turnbuckle, tie in a sagging branch, and add a bat-house while I’m up.

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She already seemed happier in an evening wind.

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A drive across the top to check blue bird houses and set a few of the new tube-houses.

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On the other side of the valley things are drier.

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10am and already a bit too hot. “Flash Drought” is a new category for what Global Warming is offering up this summer.

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Back at the house I remove an ancient fluorescent ceiling fixture and replace it with a nice ceiling fan. Walt gets the old chime clock on the wall to have it’s chime match its time.  

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Laundry day. I stretch a tight line from the tree to the old laundry pins on the house and everyone chips in on running the laundry machine.

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This is the laundry machine.

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Massive fires in British Columbia smothers the landscape with smoke, and the moon turns orange.

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Our house Robins fledge in the smoke-silvered sky.

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Every morning I trim out snow-bent old-growth from the lilacs. 7 bushes total; stopping when a Cedar Waxwing flew out onto the brush pile and told me to quit before I reached his nest. The chicks all fledged a few days later. 

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Initial trim. Kaye wonders why I didn’t start out with the skirt of suckers. It seemed easier?

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Could call it done, they all are about trimmed and still look like themselves. A hard cut is better in the long run, and sucker skirts will go wild next year- so…

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Leaving the solid lilac bushes along the L side (about as long a run as what I trimmed) gives habitat for birds next spring. This will take a few seasons to stage through.

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