Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Montana's Hidden Gems: Stone School Inn



Stone School Inn Built 1911
I have already shared some things that returned to Montana and some things that are finding a new home in Montana, I guess its time to share something I have found in Montana! This is only the beginning of many posts of Montana's Hidden Gems. Perhaps these posts will draw you to this remarkable land.

Glacier National Park is a must on every American’s bucket list. I will regularly share some pictures and thoughts from the park, but there are many gems hidden in the areas surrounding the park that you might want to add to your list. Let’s begin with the Stone School Inn Bed & Breakfast in Valier. I joke that I am running my own non-profit B&B for friends and family, but the Stone School Inn is the real deal and it’s a short drive from the east entrance of Glacier National Park and Going-to-the-Sun Road!

St Mary Lake

We wandered over the other day to see if we could get a glimpse of the building and find a little info. The owner, Susan, was more than gracious as she invited us in and gave an informative tour of the old building. Built in 1911, it still holds the charm of that era while providing upgrades like air conditioning and Wi-Fi to which we have all become accustomed. The staircase that greets visitors reminds me of my old elementary school in another resort town, Lava Hot Springs. 


The five bedrooms have private bathrooms with two of the rooms showing off claw foot bathtubs. Each room holds a charm of its own. Breakfast is optional, and Susan will even pack it to go for those headed to “The Park,” fishing on Lake Frances (it’s only a short stroll away), or going on a dinosaur dig in Bynum, MT. That's right, a dinosaur dig!

Sunset viewed from Lake Frances



The Dining Room, Game Room, and Library are all open to guests. What a great place to host a family reunion or a retreat for your quilting or writing group!


 Although this hidden gem appears off the beaten path, it's right along one of the main routes (I might add most scenic) to Glacier National Park and the Going-to-the-Sun Road. A gorgeous view of Lake Frances and the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains is right outside your door! Visit Montana and stay at this unique bed and breakfast while you explore other Montana treasures.


Note: The Stone School Inn is available for purchase. If you are looking for and adventurous business opportunity, this might be right for you.

Learn more about the Stone School Inn in Valier, Montana HERE.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Finding Home in Montana



Coach Beck's Cricket
I recently shared a post about things Coming Home to Montana, items that are returning along with me. This post, however, is about things new to Montana, items that just seem to fit here. Interesting enough, my husband, a native Idahoan, is adjusting nicely to this new life. As of yesterday, we are both registered voters!

This little guy belonged to my dear friend, Coach Beck. She kept him on a table near her front door and each time I visited, I mentioned that I wanted her to will it to me when she died. (I’m older than her, but I couldn’t help trying!) Imagine my delight, and tears, when she placed it in my hand before I made my official final journey to my new home. He is perched near my front door on the pedestal at the bottom of my stairs. He just seems to fit there. I think of Coach Beck each time I pass by him.

Bonnie's Stained-glass
This stained-glass window hanging was made several years ago by my little sis, Bonnie. She never lived in Montana, but she has already been here to visit! It is decorating the window also at the bottom of my stairs. It adds a splash of color and delicacy to the stairwell. I think it fits nicely.

Another dear friend, Dana, pieced this lovely lap quilt and gave it to me after a term of shared service. I love it! I’ve taken it in the car on some of my trips back and forth during my Montana Move. It found a home in the living room. I’m certain it will have many opportunities to warm a body or two in the winters that lie ahead. Again, I think it fits my Montana home just right.
Lastly (for now), these items have been collected over time. The mirror was a recent purchase. The blown glass candle holder was a gift from another sis, Judy. (I have a lot of sisters!) I purchased the pitcher and vase many years ago, before I was married, as part of some pottery I was collecting at the time. They found their home atop a china hutch that isn’t really a china hutch. It is a pair of ends to our entertainment center that was too large for any wall in our new old (built 1920) house. Oddly enough, it didn’t fit as a set, but it serves a needed purpose.
Not really a hutch!
There are many other items that are “settling in,” just like me. The antique dining chairs, the items in the china hutch, family photos and bedroom furniture are all finding their spots. Even my cinnamon rolls and power cookies have discovered a friend or two!
What does it all mean? Was I “destined” to return to Montana? Perhaps. I like to think, however, that life is adaptable – that one can kind find a home wherever their road takes them. A home and friendship and comfort can be found wherever we go. I think that is because we don’t really find those things, we bring them with us. Would you agree?
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!


Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.














Friday, July 13, 2018

Is that a Bear!



Panorama of my out and back run
I expected to see a fair amount of wildlife upon moving to Montana, and I have not been disappointed. As bears, even grizzly bears, are often present in this part of the world, I have been a bit nervous to venture very far when I run. I like to think I am brave, but I have my limits. Bears are on my list of limitations!

I have committed to yet another relay this summer and so I must train. I use that term loosely, as training has been a bit difficult this year partly due to my move, a small injury, wind, and mostly – bears! I have not yet seen one, but I am certain they are just waiting to eat me!

I recently found myself on a run with my music in my ears, eyes upon the road, and feet pounding the pavement. As I had not yet seen a bear, I was confident and cautious. The longer I go without seeing a bear the less likely my chances of encountering one, right? Not only have I not encountered a bear, I have yet to find a running buddy in Montana. I hope I find a buddy before I find a bear.

Anyhow, back to the story …

I was about a mile into my planned long run when over my left shoulder I heard a commotion! Yes, I thought it might be a bear, just waiting along the roadside for me so that he might consume me for lunch! Startled, I did a kind of hopping motion to the middle of the road and gave a quick look over my shoulder.

Nothing.

All was still except for some irrigation water slowly flowing through a Montana ditch (larger than a Treasure Valley ditch but smaller than a canal). Relieved, I investigated further and discovered a kind of burrow about three feet above the water line. I resumed my run which was less than impressive. I think the quick surge of adrenaline and my investigative pause sabotaged the rest of my workout. Alas, I have a few sabotaged workouts of late.

The out and back course gave me an opportunity to look further into the mystery. Upon my return to the site, I could see something in the burrow. As I neared, a large fur bearing water mammal of some sort dove out of the burrow making a big splash in the ditch below and swimming swiftly under the bridge upon which I was standing. This was the same noise I had heard earlier. It sounded like my friends doing cannonballs off the diving boards at Lava Hot Springs! (Okay, perhaps not THAT loud.) As usual, I was slow to retrieve my camera and I missed the opportunity to photo document the experience. Here is a picture of the burrow.

The burrow or den
 When I returned to the refuge of my home, I Googled “mammals of Montana” and determined that it was merely a river otter diving for cover from this fierce runner lady!

Still, it startled me. And it COULD have been a bear.

I think I need a running buddy – badly!

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!


Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green




Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Apricot Jam and Canning Thoughts



Apricot Jam!
I fell heir to a few apricots this weekend. Too many to eat before they ripen beyond fit for human consumption, I chose to make some apricot jam. It was my first food preservation project since moving to Montana. It seemed like a good idea, however, locating my canning supplies was a bit of a challenge. I found the essentials but had to improvise as my canning funnel and bottle lifter were no where to be found. As I spilled hot jam down the sides of my jars and dripped it on my floor, I was reminded that sometimes it is okay not to preserve everything one can scavenge! I've had these thoughts before and even shared them with my readers.

Here is an excerpt from Gold Pans and Iron Skillets that further explains my thoughts on canning and preserving.



Enjoy!


Just Because You Can,
Doesn’t Mean You Should


I married a dairy farmer and soon learned that one of my major responsibilities as a farm wife would be to can and preserve fruits and vegetables for the coming winter. Having avoided these activities for my first twenty-five years, I was apprehensive of the tasks at hand. To my surprise, my initial experience proved a joy rather than a chore!

As our strawberry patch began to show signs of a harvest, my husband of just six months had a hint he was fond of using. “Soon, you’ll be able to make strawberry jam!” When the day arrived, I rolled up my sleeves, gritted my teeth, and plunged into my duty. As I stood stirring the thickening jam, I remembered Grandma Nelson—or rather, Grandma Nelson’s Back Porch. There was an old manual washing machine in the room we referred to as the Back Porch. Grandma had been afflicted with a stroke and her ten children shared the burden of caring for her in her own home. I can remember my mother washing clothes in that old machine when we stayed with Grandma after her stroke. My favorite part of Grandma’s Back Porch was an upright freezer. On the racks inside its door were bottles of strawberry jam. I can’t recall what other treats it contained; probably a trout or two from Teton Creek and some frozen corn. I remember opening the freezer door and touching the jars with my fingertips. I would hold my fingers against the glass until the frost melted and tiny windows revealed the red goodies within. Mom would catch me and growl at me for keeping the freezer door open, just as I now growl at my children for similar offenses!

I make strawberry jam every year. Whether I have five jars in my freezer or twenty-five, I complete the ritual. It has become a tradition for me. In a way, it helps to preserve my memory of Grandma, and of Grandma’s house, for each time I stir my strawberry jam I recall the first time I made it and the memories come flooding back. I will always keep frosty jars of strawberry jam in my upright freezer just as there were always frosty jars in Grandma Nelson’s freezer.

Not every canning project is as rewarding or goes as smoothly as did my strawberry jam efforts. Over the years, countless bottles have refused to seal, bushels of fruit have spoiled before the task was completed, and dozens of filled jars remain on my shelves because the family just doesn’t like canned peaches and pears anymore. They never did develop an appetite for the carrots and new potatoes I bottled just because I could. There are those items that remain unidentified because, as a beginner, I wasn’t wise enough to label and date the lids. They will never be eaten, but I am reluctant to dispose of them as I am confident they took much effort and time that I didn’t have to spare.

Red onions are abundant, free, and pretty. I thought it a good idea to save some for a rainy day. Having located a recipe for Vinegared Red Onions, I filled three dozen pint jars. I have only opened one. The pink onions were nasty! They lost a little color as they were processed, but the onion and vinegar flavors became stronger, too strong to use as a garnish, condiment, or main dish! They aren’t even worth using as a decoration, as the color has continued to fade to a dull brown.

I have streamlined my canning and preserving efforts over the years. I now strive to devote my time, talents, and cash to things that will be of use such as: green beans, pickled beets, apple pie filling, and frozen corn. Oh, and strawberry jam, because not only is it of sentimental value, it has become a staple in our diet. My family might perish without a freezer full of strawberry jam!
What about you? Do you have a food preservation experience that made you question the wisdom of the project? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this essay, you can read more either in the hard copy or Kindle version of Gold Pans and Irons Skillets.
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!


Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green



Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Coming Home to Montana



My first shoes!

As I have had the opportunity to return to the land of my roots, there are a few things that I bring with me that have their origin (as close as I can determine) here as well. In my most recent blog post I promised to share some of the items, besides myself, that have returned to Montana. 
The first, and obviously the sweetest, are these baby slippers that were worn with tissue stuffed in the toes to keep them on my feet. I have ogled and treasured them long as I can remember.They were once worn by my own dark haired little girl and then tucked safely away for another time. If you visit, you’ll find them displayed on the wall of our guest room.

Antique dresser from Conrad
The second is this gorgeous dresser. Once covered with blue antique stain, it was hiding its character for many years. I discovered its beauty as I prepared to paint it yellow for my nursery when I was expecting my first child. It, too, came from somewhere near Conrad, Montana. I also discovered my sisters’ initials carved into the top! This dresser now greets visitors as they enter my front door.




The third item I share today is one of several Hoya plants. They are the only indoor plants that thrive in my care! Some friends have tried, in vain, to improve my talents. Perhaps I am not much of a nurturer. This very plant had its origins somewhere in Montana. It is a start from the one I call “The Mother Plant” that my own mother obtained while living here. It followed her to Idaho and now this piece of it returns. Hoyas must truly thrive in this area and climate. I have seen countless healthy, blooming plants in homes and businesses since returning to my roots. I’m anxious to see how my plants embrace their big adventure!

Hoya!
The only plants that
thrive in my care!
Lastly, my dad’s green Thermos. It may have begun its journey long before Montana, but I’m certain it was here – sometime and somewhere. It has long since lost its stopper and cup, but it has a presence that stirs warm feelings and faint memories for me.





Dad's Thermos ... and a rooster!
I am certain to run across more items and memories as this journey continues. How poetic, tho, that these things should make a return. After many years and many moves around Idaho, just like me, they have come home to Montana.

Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!


Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Returning to my Roots


One year-old Running Granny Green

Several decades ago a baby girl was born in the Golden Triangle of Montana along the Eastern Front of the Rocky Mountains not far from the Canadian border. Her family moved away in her first year of life and she never expected to return – yet here I am! Much like a salmon returning upstream I find myself residing only miles from the place of my birth! Who would have ever foreseen this? I truly am returning to my roots!

My Montana Home
In the past weeks and months, I have been occupied with packing and unpacking boxes, purchasing and selling homes, saying goodbye to dear friends and making new acquaintances, and simply adjusting to life on the other side of the Continental Divide!

There are bears here! There are also antelope, deer, bald eagles, pelicans, bats, Canadian geese (of course), and the occasional river otter. The river otter is subject for another blog post. I have yet to spy a bear, but my better half spotted one on the way to work recently. I was both frustrated and jealous. Jealous that he saw one before me and frustrated that I may, indeed, need to carry bear spray!

The wind blows – a lot! I have learned that if I am going to run regularly I will have to brave the wind. I’ve done my share of complaining about it in the past. How silly of me!  Treasure Valley winds cannot compare.

I have a lake! Well, its not my own private lake, but its about a half mile from my house, so its kind of my lake. But there’s bears, so …  And lots of wind, so … white caps! However, it gets so cold here that the lake freezes over in the winter. I may be ice skating again!

Huckleberry ice cream! Enough said.

Lake Frances at sundown
Some things that haven’t changed …


My cinnamon rolls. Once I located my bread machine I was back in baking mode. They turned out just right!

Laundry. That never changes!

Interesting friends. Wherever I go there are good people to get to know. Although I miss my friends from the “Old Country,” I know they will forever be in my heart and in my phone contacts! I’m looking forward to getting to know my Montana mates. I have not yet found one who wants to run with me. Tragic!

Running and injuries. I’m fighting a foot problem right now. I guess I’m still learning to have patience. At least I have an excuse not to run in the 25 mph winds today!

I will be sharing more of my adventures in coming weeks. Watch for things returning to Montana (besides me), my view from Valier, escape from a river otter, and more! Until then, remember to embrace whatever opportunities for adventure come your way. Who knows? You may also get an opportunity to return to your roots.
Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grand-parenting. The cookie recipes are a bonus!


Happy Running!
Carol - aka Running Granny Green


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.