Remembering All - All Saints Day - A Day I Will Never Forget

This is such a fun time of year!  Full of fun Halloween activities. I'm trying to get the pumpkins carved and snacks made for school parties. But I have been remembering a Halloween that meant more to me than all the candy and carved pumpkins combined. 

I was 19 years old and I had the opportunity to go on a trip the Paris with my college. It was a trip for the interior design department of which I was a part. 

In grade school I had a dear friend who was French and she was here while her parents worked. This of course was when I lived in Palo Alto, California. But anyway, we went to school together in kindergarten and first grade. We were best friends. Then she moved back to France and we were pen pals for many years. 

Because of this early association with France, it had always been on my bucket list. 

The trip was guided and included all the main attractions. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre to name just a few. We also travelled out to the country to visit some Chateaux, and a few hunting cottage... If you could call it that. 

On our way back we made a stop that was not on the schedule. The guide saw the sign for the town of Oradour-sur-Glane and since we were passing buy, asked the driver to make a stop. This small village is now a memorial to those who lost their lives there during World War II. 
You may have studied the massacre in school. 

If I remember correctly, as it was exactly 20 years ago Friday, the Germans marching from Normandy were told that a German from another Battalion was captured and being held in Oradour-sur-Vayres. This group sealed of Oradour-sur-Glane, having confused it with the other village. You can guess the rest. The tour guide informed us that there were only 2 survivors, who had hid in the bell tower. 
I'm not sure if that is true. 

The women and children were locked in the church. The men were taken to a barn, and the town was looted and then burned to the ground. In all, 190 men, 247 women and 205 children were lost that day, in June of 1944. The original town has been left untouched.

As it was All Saints Day, there were lots of people there. The graveyard was full of flowers. No one was taking pictures. I couldn't not. Although my cheap camera was awful, these are some of my favorite photos. I edited them with Snapseed and now I love them even more. 

There was a cafe next to the church and the skeleton of the wire chairs and tables were still out front. 
In this home, there is still a sawing machine in the window sill. 

I studied the Holocaust extensively in high school, (a story for another post.) so this first hand experience touched me greatly. 

The US is very good at creating holiday traditions for children, whose dentists benefit more than anyone.  I am not against the usual traditions, but this year we are going to take a few moments to remember those we love who have gone before us.  

The traditional beliefs are that the veil is very thin around this time of year, Samhain is the name, pronounced sah-win or sow-in. It starts at sunset on October 31 and lasts until November 1, although it has been celebrated longer. Extra food was prepared for loved ones and seats were left for them at the table. Food was also buried, for those who didn't have loved ones to remember them. To ward off evil spirits, pumpkins and other gourds were carved. 

We have an Indian graveyard on our property. I told my children that we should take some apples to leave by the gate. They were thrilled.  And I am, in writing this post, sharing this day, that always makes me think of a small village in France.


A Day Out

This weekend was the last of it. The last of fall. Sunday night a storm blew in. We all knew it was coming. It's not supposed to let up until Tuesday. 

So Friday, Adventure Man and I took Bunny and the dog for one of the last hikes of the year. (I say "one" because Saturday he took the other three kids up on a hike too. By then Bunny had come down with the flu, so she and I stayed home.) 

Here are some fun shots and views we enjoyed. 

I really love it up here. There's a view around every corner! 

I shared my chocolate with her. Funny kid won't eat m&ms but she loves my Dove dark chocolate squares. I have this way of making my kids like fancy stuff! Darn it! 

It's fun going out with Adventure Man because he's such a great Dad! 

Can these two be any cuter!? I mean really! 

It's also fun hanging out with Advinture Man 'cause he likes to take pictures of me. Kind'a makes me feel special! 

I'm planning on sharing this one again, once I've lost my little belly. I know it's not much. I've lost a lot of weight since Bunny was born. But I've got about 10 more pounds to go. Still, for having four kids (and a puppy), I'm feeling pretty good.

Speaking of the puppy, she found an old bone piece and a shady spot. 

We were having fun. It was such a nice day! 

Now on to snow boots and wool caps! 

Happy Winter! 


Autumn Wind, a Cool Free App and a Secret

The wind was blowing leaves all over town today. I took this with my phone and edited it with one of my new favorite apps, Snapseed. 

It's so fun and free. And not like the "free" that you need to buy a whole lot of extras to get it to work right. The fun kind of free. Free free! Check it out! 

So here's my secret. I've run out of photo space on this blog. I actually ran out a long time ago. Like a year ago! I went to update my header and it wouldn't work. It said I had used up 99.9% of my space. This is what happens when people, like me, start a blog without any computer knowledge. 

So what have I done? I've used edit apps like Instagram to get my pics really small. I use mostly pictures taken with my phone. If not, I transfer them to my phone and they get really small. I don't even use the PC anymore. 

I also started my other blog. But I don't post there very much. Yet. You can find the link in my pages up at the top. But it's not about the ranch so it's not a replacement. 

I've thought about ending this blog and just moving on. But it's too much a part of me. I can't up and leave it. It's my story. At least for now. 

I may just have to buy more space. But I'm trying not to.  We'll see. 

In the mean time, here's another Snapseed edit for your viewing enjoyment. 

Happy weekend!  I'll be taking care of kids with the flu. 


See Ya!

The fall color doesn't last long. Last week I woke up to this...


And to this... 

It's awfully pretty. The snow was gone by mid day. But then the wind kicked up and now most of the color is gone. But I've grown accustom to the spooky witches forest. As I've come to call it. Very fitting. That's a graveyard up there beyond the fence, ya know.  


Northern Living

The north seemed to be having a party the other night. The colors were stunning. Made even better with the long exposure and mad camera skills of my Darling Adventure Man. 

The streaks of light would shoot up like spotlights. And the fade to green then red was ever in motion. Truly a sight worth staying up for! 

Rurality Blog Hop #8


A Big Sky Sunset

I know I've said it before, but there's a reason we call it Big Sky Country. 

Photo credit to Darling Adventure Man. 

Autumn Splendor and Some Family Time

We like to walk the Aspen Loop Trail that is right by our house each autumn when the colors have changed.

It's just a short little walk, hardly a hike, but it always takes us forever because we have to take hundreds of pictures. 

I actually only used my iPhone this time, because I had just added some great new camera apps that I wanted to try out. 

Adventure Man used the Nikon and the Olympus, which is the one I usually use. I'll share the new apps later this week.

We found lots of ladybuds and had to catch them and chase them through the wild rose bushes that were covered in red rose hips and thorns. 

The kids loved it. 

We got to see everyone having fun in the fresh air and enjoy the warmth of the day before winter is a permanent fixture in our little Montana valley. 

We got to have some together time without too much griping or arguing. 

We love to take in the view and climb the rocks at the end of the loop. 

One of my favorite blogs is written by Emily at The Anderson Crew Blog. She is the creator of Embrace The Camera and is sharing all week long. As someone who would rather take pictures than be taken in pictures, I have tried to make sure I was embracing the camera more often. So I'm sharing these shots with you today.  Her theme for today is memories. I hope my kids will have happy memories of our seasonal adventures!

Head over to Emily's place to find out more. 


Meet The Girl - A Formal Introduction

I found our first dog. My husband picked the name. I had called the dog a not-so-nice word in Japanese and my husband thought it was the perfect name. 

I picked this pup from the litter. So I made the mistake of telling my Darling Adventure Man (DAM) that he could name her. 

I will NEVER do that again. From now on, if we ever get another animal. HE can PICK it. I will name it. 

So. With no furthure ado. 

Meet Jessica... 

Jessica Rabbit, that is. 

Oh yes. My husband named our sweet puppy after a cartoon pinup. (Can you hear my eyes rolling!?)

Luckily (for him) we call her Jessy. 

Much more appropriate for life on a ranch. 

Still, they are both cartoon caricatures. But both are redheads. As is the dog. But I digress. 

We've had Jessy 10 weeks now. My mother-in-law asked for an updated picture and this is what I shared.  

The first two were the day we brought her home at 7 weeks. She was so sad. The other two were yesterday at 17 weeks! 

Now another fun comparison is what I went through to get these four shots:

VS. this:

So now you know. She isn't really bad, she's just drawn this was. 


Photo credit to funpop.com for the two redheads, and to DAM for the other ones. 


The Big Chill

We've been getting colder and colder weather. Waking up at 5 am to get my basketball player down to early morning practice isn't fun.

Realizing that I've got to scrape the ice off the car before we leave isn't fun either. Then finding that both rear tires are reading as low? 

What the? 

They just needed air, but that didn't mean we would make it to practice. Oh well. At least the sunrise is nice... 

In the rear view window....