Flat Stanley Visits

I guess I should stay home once in a while. There are adventures to be found even in my backyard!  While I was out exploring, Mom’s friend Ezekiel asked her to show his Flat Stanley around Missoula.  Flat Stanley wanted to play in the snow, but found he needed warmer clothes. Mom crocheted a hat and scarf one evening, and the next morning they built a snowman.  When the weekend came, they explored downtown Missoula, riding the Carousel.  It was too cold for the kayakers to be out in the Clark Fork River, and the colorful piano that is usually in a parking lot was put way in storage. Not too cold for ice cream though, they walked to the Big Dipper and enjoyed Huckleberry ice cream.  Huckleberries grow wild and are very tart, but make a good pie, jam or ice cream. They thought about hiking up to the “M” a concrete landmark on the side of Mount Sentinel.  Although it’s just 3/4 mile to “M,” it seems much further with its steep incline and 11 switchbacks. Good sense and tired feet kept them from trying that challenge! Last I heard, they are going contra dancing, which is an old form of line dancing.  I really missed out on a fun visit with Flat Stanley!  Purrs, Gulliver

Badlands

What makes the Badlands bad? The term was first used by the Lakota people who called the region in eastern Montana and South Dakota “mako sica” or “land bad’. The French Canadian fur trappers agreed in the early 1900s, saying it was “les mauvais terres pour traverse, “or bad land to travel through” because the temperatures were harsh, water was scarce and the land was difficult to cross by foot or horseback.  Outlaws made use of these features to hide after committing crimes.  Famous outlaws like Kid Curry, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Dutch Henry and the Hole in the Wall Gang would take refuge in the barren land escaping into Canada or to remote hideouts. There is now a Badlands National Park in South Dakota where buffalo and big horn sheep live.  The Park has a wonderful fossil exhibit – it turns out that long before humans and modern day animals arrived, dinosaurs lived here and their bones are now fossils!  Purrs, Gulliver

Smokejumpers

Kip laughed when I asked him what his mother thought of his job as a smokejumper. “She thinks I am crazy… truly nuts and need my head examined.”  Kip and his co-workers have a dangerous job jumping out of an airplane to fight fires in remote areas where there are no roads.   There are only 450 smokejumpers in the USA who attend special schools like the one in Missoula, Montana which has been around for 75 years. The school trains smokejumpers how to jump out of airplanes and use parachutes, fight the fires by hand, and then carry out equipment that can weigh up to 120 – 140 pounds.  This has been a busy year, with 81 fires going on around the Western United States, and I told Kip I admired his dedication to keeping people and property safe.  “I love the outdoors” he simply said.  Purrs, Gulliver

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Montana

Do you have a nickname? Mine is Gully.  Montana has a couple: The Treasure State and Big Sky Country.  Montana is Spanish for mountain. When the territory was being named there were suggestions that a Native American name would be more fitting. Shoshone was a popular suggestion since it was the tribe of Sacajawea, a young Native American girl who traveled and interpreted for the explores Lewis and Clark.  After much disagreement, the name Montana became official.  Purrs,  Gulliver

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Carousel

The word “carousel” was first used to describe a game played by Arabian and Turkish horsemen in the 12th century. The game, which involved tossing a clay ball filled with perfume between riders, was played with such seriousness that the Italian crusaders who first observed the game called it a “little war” or “carosello.” In England, carousels have been called roundabouts and galopers. In America, in addition to carousels they have been called whirligigs, flying horses, hobby horses and of course merry-go-rounds.  Horses with at least 3 feet touching the floor are called “standing figures.” Horses with two back feet resting on the platform and front feet posed in the air are called “prancers.” Horses with all four feet in the air and called “jumpers” and are the ones that move up and down. Sometimes other animals were added to the carousel like tigers and frogs.    FullSizeRender (7)Purrs, Gulliver