Montana visit with visitors.


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.


The lower end at sunset.


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


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


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


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


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


Walt sends the branches over the corral fence.


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


Finding leverage and wishing I had a prehensile tail.


Hummingbirds swept by with encouragements.


Walt checks the ladder position he recommended. Tight.


Threading the bolt by feel.


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


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


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


Language supervisor.


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


Three rods at cross-directions stabilize the trunk.


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.


She already seemed happier in an evening wind.


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


On the other side of the valley things are drier.


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


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.  


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.


This is the laundry machine.


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


Our house Robins fledge in the smoke-silvered sky.


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. 


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


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…


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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