Snippets of Life


Autumn is setting in upon the ever smoky Bitterroot Valley. Wildfires still smolder on all fronts, but they aren’t gaining ground like they were. The weather is getting cooler, and hopes remain high that the end of the smoke is near. Growing up in the mountains of Colorado I experienced wildfires as a part of summer life, but never anything like this. We have been here for more than a month now, and there hasn’t been a single day without smoke.

Along with the end of the summer comes the end to our extended post-Antarctic vacation, and the start of our job search. The idea of going back to a ‘normal’ job is somewhat intimidating after our adventures in the deep south, but the excitement of new opportunities and regular pay checks is undeniable. For now we are enjoying having our time as our own by making things, eating well, and loving each other. Every meal is an occasion, eaten outside with fresh beer or a glass of wine. I’ve been growing my birding hobby into our newfound domestic life by working on the landscaping of the property we live on, creating habitats more natural and appealing to our local avian buddies. Together, the three of us sit on our porch at sunset, watching the birds happily dine on an easy meal. It is a full and happy life.

Smoky old Lodgepoles stand tall over one of the many drainages running out of the Bitterroot Range.

Across the valley in the Sapphire Range, Gleason Lake sits behind some steep and nasty bushwhacking, but the trek is clearly worth the beauty and solitude.

Weird Birds Street Tacos – handmade pico de gallo, guacamole, and slow-roasted pulled pork. Recipe to follow shortly!

One of the things we’ve been working on. This drip coffee maker is inspired by Costa Rican Chorreadors and makes a fantastic cup of coffee, if I do say so myself. Everything handmade by us. Our online shop is almost up and running, so check back soon!

Elizabeth working hard on some new designs, aided by the always useful and never in the way Cornelia.


It’s been difficult not to feel sequestered at times with the oppressive, never-ending smoke generating from the Sawtooth Fire.  It’s been easy to feel a little envious of those already back down in Antarctica, wearing costumes, enjoying the best dance parties in the world, and basking in the soft glow of nacreous clouds.  But then I focus on what we’re doing, what we’re eating, what we’re creating, and I feel content.

Meals take front and center as we make cookies, zucchini bread, rye bread, french onion soup, slow cooked pork, barbecued pizza, homemade spaghetti sauce, etc.  I love our process of preparation, cooking, then cleaning up, and the ways in which we delegate these tasks.  Nothing feels like a chore, as being able to clean after one self rather than a slew of Antarctic firemen is such a joy.  Cornelia constantly makes us giggle as she continues to grow and seems to develop another new naughty antic daily. We look for jobs while enjoying what may be dwindling hours of free time.  We explore new creative ventures, like woodworking, wood-burning, linoleum block cutting, wire work.  Any day that seems slightly less smoky is embraced with hiking, biking, and strolling around town.

Our relationship started as a smash-bang of all-the-time-togetherness at the bottom of the world.  We worked together, dined together, lived together, watched Emperor Penguins together.  And then we traveled together.  We faced all of the biggest relationship challenges right up front.  As we settle into this new stationary life, we’re discovering new challenges we haven’t experienced before.  It feels really weird to not go to the same job, to run errands alone, and to delegate closet space.  Things like deciding who will scoop the kitty litter are foreign to us, but in some way feel like a great new adventure.

An unusually clear day: we could actually see some blue sky, and the faintest outline of the Bitterroots.

One of the many intricate handmade ranch signs that are dotted along the roads in the valley.

A Spotted Sandpiper looks for breakfast.

Cornelia loves the new bird-feeders Kevin has put up in the yard, and watches intently when she’s not napping or terrorizing us for treats.

A handsome man enjoys a beautiful river on a glorious, sunny day.


3 thoughts on “Snippets of Life

  1. i know what you mean about the weirdness of menial jobs, and trying to not feel strange doing something on your own, when you’re used to being around your significant almost all the time! i’m sure you guys will cope just fine, but good luck anyway! 🙂

    also, i’m really hoping you’ll post that pulled-pork recipe soon…it looks scrumptious!

  2. Enjoy your first autumn in two years! I love the “CatTV” you’ve set up in the window. I used to have a bird feeder outside my apartment window and it would keep my cat Madison entertained for HOURS. :)-

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