Monday, September 26, 2011

Montana series: land of desolation

One day, during one of those flat tire excursions, I met a cute bubbly young mom, who asked me how I liked living in the land of desolation. I laughed about her description of this place. I must admit, some days I feel I do feel as if I am living in the land of desolation. So that might be a slight exaggeration, but some days that is how I feel. Most days the only person I see is my hubby & three boys. I can go to town & see or talk to no one, but the cashier or the librarian. I can go to the market, the library, the post office & no one else is in these places. Gone are the days of seeing three or four people from your ward at the grocery store & catching up for five minutes. Or having large groups at the library, even story time here it usually is just me, my boys & the kids from day care who are dropped off & pickup once it is over by the lady at the day care. So my conversations in my day usually only involve me & one of my four guys, unless I talk to myself or the sheep & sad to say both accounts happen regularly now. Some days I am lucky & I can carry on a conversation on my cell phone without it dropping the call three or four times, other days it is doesn't even get reception or it drops the call too many times & both parties are frustrated & opt to talk a different day. So yes, some days I feel as if I live in the land of desolation.
Then I drive by places like this:

Literally sixty miles from anywhere, all the middle of nowhere. No neighbors for 20 miles at least, and I think of the poor pioneer woman who lived there. She is trying to raise her kids & survive in this forsaken wilderness. Their only food is what they can grow, raise or kill. There are no neighbors, no one to call when they need help, and who knows how many weeks it was between seeing people. I can imagine her kissing her husband goodbye as he heads out on the horse to go round up the cattle & drive them to the closest market. He could be gone for months, most likely longer. I can see as she struggles to teach her kids the basics reading, math, religion all while trying to take care of the animals, the garden & the basics of daily living. I can see her cooking over open fire, praying that her husband is alive & comes home soon. Praying that the Indians don't come by again, & if they do please let them be friendly. Praying the animals stay healthy, the garden will grow; that they can produce enough just to live.
Then I wonder how in the world did she do it? How did she have that much strength? How could she go a month without hardly seeing anyone but her family & handle it so well? Was she happy? How did she function? What did she do to stay strong? Where did she come from? What was her story? I look at the house now, beaten down by the storms & weather of the land until there is almost nothing left. Now is lays in a field, not much remaining: forgotten. I get curious about the story of the woman who lived there in the land of desolation, when there was no phones, no Internet, no cars to make the sixty mile drive in an hour & not a week. Then without knowing any of her story, I admire her that much more. I am living in what is still called a Pioneer town (because it too small to be called rural), living with all those extra immensities that make life so nice, like running water, electricity, phones, Internet, cars; but some days I still feel as if I am left in the middle of nowhere. Some days I can't handle it, some days it is alright, others days I enjoy it. Then once again I think of that woman, who lived in that house left to be forgotten. I haven't forgotten you, I think if you every time I pass an abandoned house, in nowhere. I admire you so much, for your strength, for your ability to survive, for the life you lived. Still I have one question: How in the world did you do it?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lessons learned . . .

It has been just over a year since we have moved back to the area we consider home. This post I wrote a year ago on our private family blog. Reminiscing a little, I thought I would share it here too. It's always good to remember lessons learned.

In case you didn't hear, I couldn't cut it as a pioneer,
So away we will go, back to home.
More details will come, once all my packing is done

But in honor of my move home . . .I thought I would share with you little lessons I have learned from our short 8 months at this Montana home. These are in no particular order:

- You can live without a microwave
- When living without a microwave, dinner is better when you plan ahead.
- Back in the day when people didn't have a microwave, they reheated & melted things on the stovetop or oven. It still works today.
- You don't always need all the ingredients in a recipe, you can skip & it doesn't hurt or kill anyone.
- You can make a lot of things from scratch if you just put in the time.
- Sometimes the thing we love are also the things that drive us crazy.
- We can never tire of seeing wildlife in our backyard or every day.
- I don't build fences.
- No matter what you try, some sheep will always die.
- There is satisfaction that comes from producing livestock.
- There is also a lot of reasons to curse those same livestock.
- Sheep will eat everything in a garden, except potatoes & tomatoes.
- If you live in the middle of nowhere you can hang everything out a the line, no ones is going to be around to see it.
- We can go days without a phone call.
- Some days it's nice when the phone finally rings.
- I miss my family.
- My family will drive for days, if they think I need them, and they do. It means a lot.
- Eating crow is possible, it just tastes bad.
- Eastern Montana is beautiful.
- There is a need for strong members is small branches.
- There are good people everywhere.
- I know who my true friends are.
- I can live with a lot less than I think.
- Somedays the I think the Lord put me out here to learn to handle my biggest fears in life: being alone & snakes. Sad to say . . . I still don't care for either one.
- In some parts of this nation, they still pray everywhere, church, school & community affairs, and no one is offended, they are just glad prayer was said. That is amazing & I wish it was everywhere.
- A clothes line can dry clothes almost as fast as a dryer, unless it rains.
- It rains a lot in eastern Montana.
- Good things can come from flat tires.
- There is something special about having church in a real church house.
- I miss the temple.
- Never say you won't do something, it's just a sure sign one day it going to happen.
- Cell phones are a blessing, there is nothing better than being lost on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere & being able to call someone to get directions.
- Boys are meant to be boys.
- I love watching my boys explore & discover new things on there own.
- There is no better best friend than your own family.
- I learned how to catch a frog.
- You can go months with just powder milk, but no matter how hard you try nothing is as good as the real thing.
- I learned to live on a budget again.
- I learned sometimes the things you think you want, aren't really in the end the things you want.
- Driving two hours to go to stake conference, is worth it.
- I need people,
- You really don't need it all. Going without things can be done, it's just hard.
- Date nights are missed & now oh so special.
- The internet is wonderful.
- I can kill mice with my bare feet.
- I dislike moths . . . out here they are everywhere. Tons of them. It's kind of gross.
- Working together as a family, is still so awesome.
- I need to be more grateful for those little moments.
- Don't get set on your plans, the Lord will change them anyways.
- You really can almost live off your food storage, you just have to be creative.
- Fresh fruit & veggies in this house is like gold, you better grab it soon or the next boy will.
- My husband is more amazing than I thought.

- No matter what My hubby does, he does it with 110% of his effort.
- My husband will do almost anything for me.
- Just when you think the Lord dropped you in the middle of nowhere & forgot about you, something happens to let you know, he didn't.
- The Lord always thinks you can handle more than you do.
- In some parts of this world you can almost go back in time.
- Some things are both a blessing & a curse.
- A 12 hour drive gets shorter with time.
- My boys travel well.
- When taking a short cut or a new road, get all the details first. Experiencing it first, without all the details, sometimes costs you more.
- We have more than we need.
- I actually enjoy swimming.
- There are things you want, things you need & then things you have to have. Sometimes its easy to get them mixed up, but when you really have to, you can see there is a difference.
- My boys still want to grow up to be cowboys, & now even more so.
- This is true cowboy country.
- These women out here are tough.
- I have been to a true cattle branding.
- I have a new appreciation for those pioneer women.
- If you move often enough, you naturally get rid of things. Even in your best efforts, thing will get broken, ruined or rained on.
- An entire field of sunflowers is gorgeous.
- Having a pond in your backyard, can be a lot of fun.
- You don't need a lot to have a lot of fun.
- Out here most of your friends will live 25 miles away, most of them more than that.
- It doesn't take much time, to make a big difference.
- I will miss my friends in Montana, but I am excited to head back home..
- It is still true: That in the end the only thing that matters is the Gospel & Family.

I am sure there are many more, but for time sakes that is all for now. @

-Until later,