Monday, July 20, 2015

A Side Trip To Yellowstone

While in southeastern Montana (Roscoe presentation), I decided to do a bit of rambling. I left Columbus around 8:30am and drove up into the plateaus of Stillwater County. Hay farmers had already bundled their first round bales. Wheat was ripening nicely.
I then drove to Prairie Dog Town State Park near Greycliff. The little critters were all underground since rain storms were threatening. During the next hour, I rode through several heavy storms that gave my truck a good cleaning.

With no urgent reason to return to Helena, I decided to dip down into Yellowstone NP and drive from Mammoth Hot Springs to the West entrance. (I have a senior pass, so it only cost me my gas.) Right at the entrance a group of pronghorn does and their babies lounged in the grass near the road. Folks were dashing from cars to get pictures. I didn't have a good place to stop and cars were behind me, so no pictures. A shame, because the markings on these animals were quite different from those on the pronghorns up by my place.

Even mid-week, parking was hard to find. I finally got a spot at the end of the hot springs area, and took one of the boardwalks, thinking how neat this will be come winter. Winter is my favorite time to visit Yellowstone. Even so, the cloud cover gave good photo ops.

Most of my time was spent in the truck, the road passing through some very lush greenery. Animals? Ah yes. The bison. I saw two. The first was napping in the grass about thirty feet down a slope.
Of course, it was spotted, and people were snapping pictures. I joined in, using my long lens, and I noticed the bison occasionally opening his eye to take in the people. I wondered how long he would put up with his siesta being interrupted. I left before he did any moving.
The second bison was browsing about six feet from the road edge, and again, people were scrambling to get pictures. I didn't stop. Too much bison, too close to the road for my comfort.

Further along, a bevvy of cars were catty-wonkers in a pull out, with one driver-side door left open and people lining a creek edge. A moose? Bear across the creek? Bison? I didn't stop. Road construction was active and I had already fallen behind a long line of cars and work trucks. Pulling over would put me back even further.

Even without getting stellar pictures, I enjoyed my leisurely trip through Yellowstone on my way home.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fine Time in Roscoe, Montana

Through Humanities Montana I was invited to give the "Lifestyle of the Northern Rockies" presentation at the Roscoe Community Center.

Roscoe is a very small community in southeast Montana between the larger towns of Columbus and Red Lodge; it's about 240 miles from Helena. The community center is the one-time school for the area, filled with charm and neat photos of times gone by. Nowadays, the building plays host to family reunions, fund raisers, birthday parties, and presentations.

More than sixty people attended the Tuesday evening event. My
refurbished map was useful, and people gave positive response to my program. Only one person there under age twenty—an elementary-school fellow who was brought by his grandmother. He talked with me after the presentation about the flint knapping workshop he was soon to attend.

I was treated to a late supper at the town's noted Grizzly Bar and Grill. I saw two bar patrons wearing t-shirts that read "Where the hell is Roscoe?" the bar's "calling card." Ha ha. Several of us sat outside at patio tables, conversing and munching, with the creek chuckling in the distance. A fine time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Map Redo for Presentations

Nearly a decade ago, I drew a map of North America to use in my Humanities Montana presentation. It's 30" x40" on canvas, attached to a roller so I can pack it and also display it on an easel. Before a presentation, I always go through my notes, check my sources on the Internet, add new information, and print various handouts. The map remains rolled in the burlap bag where I keep some other of my props until I get to the event.  
Pony and travois that also stay in the burlap bag.
The presentation, "Before the Horse: Lifestyle of the Northern Rockies", is developed from the research I did when writing Spotted Flower and the Ponokomita and I give information about early emigration to the region as well as the northward migration of the horse over three centuries. In March, a friend attended one of my presentations and mentioned that the map was hard to see. And, looking at it, I realized she was correct. My original shading and highlights had been done with colored pencils and only on the land-mass section of the map; the rest was tan canvas. With rolling and unrolling, those colors had faded greatly.
So now, as I ready for next week's presentation in Roscoe, Montana, I am refurbishing the map. This time I'm using pastels to add more color. The work is partially complete, and I can see the improvement. I should have done this months (years?) ago.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Exhibit of PhotoArt

On July 6th I completed the installation of twenty framed images in the Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Conference Center dining room.
I enjoyed the drive to get there (about 45 miles from my house) and the lovely surroundings of the Inn. The swimming pool is open and while I was hanging pictures, many people were checking in to use it.
View from the parking lot
The dining room walls are scored at various places with wood moulding; that allowed for extra framing of my framed pieces. 
The exhibit will hang through August.