Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Waking up the very first morning around 5, Dave started a fire while I started the coffee pot. I got the brisket all chopped up for my chili and put the crock pot to good use once again. We had planned to go to church but we changed our minds feeling we would be pretty rushed throughout the day since we were hosting a small get together that evening for the Contractor and our Realtor/Property Management guy along with their spouses. I hadn't been able to find a key ingredient for the Kahlua Pecan Pie the day before so we ran back into Kalispell where we also made another stop at the hardware store.

(Starting the very first fire in the new wood stove that was installed in the dining room.)

(It's cranking out the heat!)

(A good start to the day!)

(Dave hung the new juniper wood clock in the dining room. We had sent several boxes a week before our trip to our Realtor's house and we picked them up after we flew in.)

(While I was throwing the pie together for baking, Dave was sprucing the place up before our guests came over.)

We had a lovely evening with our dinner guests, visiting and getting to know one another better. Dave had only met our Realtor once last summer when we had went to look at a house while we were on vacation and he had only spoken with our Contractor over the phone a couple of times. Our first dinner party was a success!

The next day while awaiting the delivery of the guest bedroom rugs and our new washer and dryer from Lowes, Dave ran into town to get more firewood and to look at a rustic shop to see about replacing the cheap cabinet in the upstairs bathroom.

(Delivery and installation of our new washer and dryer!)

(The new rugs for the guest bedroom are from the same collection as our area rug in the dining room.)

Once the deliveries were done we decided to take a drive over to Eureka to look for an Amish run business called Montana Woodworks. Our main log furniture "supplier" has contracts with other builders and our TV stand and guest bed came from them. Dave was still wanting to replace the bathroom cabinet with something more rustic. We made a quick drive down our road, looking for access to Spoon Lake but all we found was this little guy, probably looking for the lake as well!

The drive over to Eureka was a pretty one, with the sun roof open and the windows down but it was a bust in terms of finding the furniture place. It turns out that it was * 30 miles west in Kootenai and Dave wasn't interested in driving further! We turned around and headed back to Columbia Falls. Along the way we made the decision to go into Glacier National Park for a brief time. Dave was still amazed at how close the Park is to the house! Once there, we decided to take a nice little "evening stroll" through the Trail Of The Cedars and Avalanche Creek!

On the drive home, going through "Hungry Horse" there's a place called the Huckleberry Patch which sells every kind of Huck product under the sun!! They also make the most incredible Huckleberry milk shakes known to mankind! We picked up an entire Huckleberry Pie to have throughout the week.

Warming up chili for dinner, next to the wood stove in the family room, a little 'Lonesome Dove" on the TV and then pie for dessert! Living the good life!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


We waited for the day to travel to the Montana house for so long and now it has already come and gone...I was a little anxious to see Dave's reaction on seeing the house for the very first time in person. A lot of time, energy and not to mention money, have gone into transforming this place into our home! We boarded our flight early here in Dallas and flew to Denver where we had a layover. We ate enormous breakfast burritos knowing we wouldn't be eating until much later in the day!

(After breakfast, reading my Cowboys and Indians magazine in the Denver airport.)

(Somewhere over Montana air space!)

After picking up our rental car (Subaru Outback) we started on our many errands that were on my "to do" list. We completed our errands and stopped to get a pizza for us to enjoy for our dinner later on. I did all of the driving initially since I was already familiar with the area. At long last, we headed north out of Columbia Falls and began driving up the North Fork Road to our "Sweet Montana Home"! Dave sat in the passenger seat, soaking it all in. I had told him about the area, being surrounded by mountains and trees but he kept saying,

"Wow, look at all of the trees and the mountains!"

Naturally that just made me smile! We pulled into the driveway and there it stood, our long-awaited dream had finally become a reality!


We had ice cream in the car so we quickly took it inside and then I gave him the tour!! I was thrilled that he thought the place was great! He enjoyed going through the rooms and seeing all of the changes that had been made. I of course have a different perspective because I had been to the house when we first bought it, "as is". Dave was pretty enthusiastic about bringing down the queen-sized guest bed that was upstairs in the master bedroom and getting the newly remodeled guest bedroom all set up. While he was upstairs dismantling the bed, I threw my brisket on to cook in the crock pot and started cleaning the guest bedroom. Fortunately for us, the Contractor is really great about cleaning up after himself so it didn't take me too long!

(Dave is putting the bed together in the newly remodeled guest bedroom.)

We brought down the remaining furniture and set up the bedroom! Just for fun, here are some before and after pictures of the guest bedroom makeover:

(The bedroom had white walls and ugly carpeting, not to mention a dingy ceiling and it was missing trim, molding and a door!)

(What a transformation! Hardwood flooring, trim and molding, a new ceiling fan and fresh paint!)

(The chest of drawers that my best friend Brenda and I brought back from Idaho in April. The elk picture is one of Dave's that he tool up in Jasper, Alberta on our 2010 Autumn trip)

(No door, how strange!)

(The queen sized guest bed is all set up, one of the nightstands from Idaho holds the one of new lamps that Dave found at the Grand Canyon in May when he did his "Rim to Rim" hike with his brothers. We also have a beautiful bedroom door! The prints over the headboard are over 100 years old which I had found on e bay. We had them matted and framed and I love how they turned out!)

(The previous owners had sealed up an archway but the outline was still visible.)

(The wall was smoothed out and the light switch plate was taken out. We found a beautiful 3D carved bear picture in St. Regis, Montana which hangs on the reworked wall.)

(Little details: I moved the blanket ladder that holds our Glacier National Park Pendleton blankets from the family room into the guest bedroom. The room is decorated with Glacier National Park touches and bears.)

We were still pretty wound up but finally sat down around 9:30 to eat our pizza. Our adventure had just begun!

Monday, August 19, 2013


I am in my final countdown for our trip to the Montana house. To say that I want Dave to immediately love the house and all of its changes, would be an understatement. We have poured a lot of time, energy and not to mention money, into transforming this house into our HOME and I want Dave to be pleased...Last night we received the invoice from our Contractor for the latest project, our second wood burning stove. He told me earlier that he would NOT send me any pictures because he wants us to be surprised, he also told me how pleased he was with the way it turned out. Knowing that he is a perfectionist, I am certain that we are going to be thrilled!

In the office area I hung some family pictures back in April to give the place a more personal touch. I have a couple more packed in my suitcase that I'll be hanging here. Next year we will start on the upstairs but will wait to put in the stair railing until we make our move in 3 years, figuring it will make moving furniture upstairs easier.

This summer has definitely had its challenges. In April 2011, right before my Mom passed away from Colon Cancer, Dave was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. He had surgery to remove the Prostate since the cancer was aggressive and outside of the Prostate. The Surgeon felt very confident that things looked good but he did inform us that there was always the risk of it returning since it was outside the Prostate. In January we were disappointed to learn that it had returned. Although the PSA tests aren't 100% accurate, he had repeated tests and each one was elevated. This indicated that there was something going on. Through more tests and scans we learned that it wasn't anywhere else (bones, blood, organs, etc) which we were thankful for. The Radiologist explained to us that you could have over 10,000 cancer cells in an area just the size of the very tip of your pinky finger and since this cancer wasn't being picked up on the MRI's, it indicated that it was very minute and slow growing. Dave made the decision to have radiation and target the general area. The first phase was having a hormone therapy shot to suppress the manufacturing of Testosterone and then a couple of months later he began radiation for eight weeks. Last Thursday was his last radiation treatment and now we wait. We won't know anything until after the first of the year once the effects of the shot have completely worn off and his body begins producing Testosterone once again. Living with cancer has taught us to enjoy the day...just today because we don't know what the future holds. This trip to the house will be especially poignant after having the reality of cancer treatment in our lives. Time for the both of us to begin making memories at our retirement home!!

Five more days and we will be off into the wild blue yonder and heading up to Montana! This week will be filled with packing, list making and so on. We've double checked on deliveries scheduled to arrive, sent three large boxes via UPS to the house and have gathered together whatever paperwork we need. We've arranged a Dinner party and have a tentative date set for visiting some friends in Idaho. All we need to do, is finish our packing and drive to the airport. I am hoping this week goes by pretty fast!!

Monday, August 5, 2013


Preparations have commenced for our trip to our Sweet Montana Home! In just nineteen days we will board an airplane and fly first to Denver, then catch a flight into Kalispell. Almost one year to the day since we purchased our little piece of heaven, Dave will FINALLY set eyes on it, in person for the very first time! I can hardly wait to see what he thinks since he has only seen pictures up to this point. He and I have had countless conversations, usually during our morning walks, about how we will spend those ten days. We will do some painting upstairs, take some deliveries, take a road trip to visit friends in Idaho, shop for some rustic furnishings, plan a "dinner party", visit Fresh Life Church in Kalsipell, hike in Glacier and make fires in the wood stove while we watch movies (specifically Westerns) in the Family Room at night. I have begun making various lists and lining up the septic tank guy to come out and inspect/clean the tank. I hate that those ten days will fly by!

The house has come a LONG way this past year but we still have more to do, mainly the upstairs. From the day we bought the house, I have determined that we give the place a name. The first time I brought it up, right after we closed on the house, Dave said,

"We have 1000 things to do on the house and that is about number 999!"

I have asked family members and friends for suggestions; the most creative so far comes from my Dad:

"NARNIA always winter never summer."

Last night I had a light bulb moment! I suggested to Dave that we give our place a name that relates to the region, specifically something that the Native Peoples that have been here long before the white man, might say. So, in all likelihood our place will have a name in the SALISH language, the common language spoken by North Western Tribes. I think we need to come up with a name and then have it translated into the Salish language, I won't be able to pronounce it but hey...it seems right!

Salish men on July 4th stand by tepees near St. Ignatius Mission, Flathead Reservation, Montana, 1903

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I don't have a whole lot of pictures to post on today's entry since our Contractor is focused more on the job details then being my personal photographer. (Imagine that!) I've said before that he is a first class guy, a perfectionist and a master craftsman who has proven himself over and over again that he can be trusted. Yesterday he responded to an e mail I had sent and sent me a picture he had taken with his phone. At first, since I was looking at it on my smart phone it didn't seem any different from the pictures I posted on my previous blog entry. Those pictures were from our Realtor/Property management guy. I e mailed it to myself and once I downloaded it onto the computer, I caught a small detail. He has all of the granite for the hearth pad, which means it is much further along than I had previously thought!

The corner is being "sketched out", the slabs of granite are stacked beside it and the new wood stove is still enclosed in its packaging.

The corner where the new stove is going to be placed. This is before the walls were painted and the dining room was set up.

In this photo the walls are painted, the dining room is set up and the corner where the new stove is going in is off in the distance.

We bought the house as a foreclosure last August, but the previous owners had listed it five years earlier and our Realtor sent me the link that also included the pictures from that listing. We are taking the house in such a radically different direction!! The dining room where we are having the stove installed was their living room and this picture is before they laid the Pergo flooring and made a few other changes. For us, using this room as the dining room makes more sense.

This picture was from the second time they listed the house, three years ago. They had made some changes but were still using it as their living room. I have to wonder what they would think if they could see the house now?

Four weeks from this Saturday we will be at the house and Dave will lay eyes on it, in person for the very first time. It will be nearly one year since the day that we bought it, the house has come a long way in that year! At that time, the stove installation will be finished and the downstairs will almost be done. We still need some additional trim installed and the Wal-Mart type bookcases that are fastened to the wall in the office will be ripped out and new built in bookcases will take their place. We are having a new concrete porch and some reworking of exterior electrical work done as well. My guess is that, that work will begin after the stove is finished since they can get snow as early as September. The upstairs work will begin after the first of the year. It's hard to believe that so much has been accomplished, soon the only thing left will be for Dave to retire!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Just a little follow up from yesterday. Our Realtor/Property Management guy stopped out at the house yesterday to check on the yard. We had received a notice from Flathead County about noxious weeds; it was our 3rd notice, the first 2 having gone to a wrong address. Our guy had lined up lawn care for us at the beginning of summer so I contacted him to straighten everything out for us. He is on top of it and while he was out there photographing the yard, he went inside the house and took a few pictures. I had just written yesterday that I was eager for our Contractor to start on the wood flooring in the downstairs guest bedroom, so imagine my delight when I received these pictures!!

The flooring is installed and I love the new knotty pine door and lock set that he installed. I'm assuming that the ceiling is patched and that the wall is finished as well; he's very meticulous and thorough. My first order of business once we're there next month is to clean this room well and then move the guest bed and dresser in here. Can you say excited?

The next thing I saw in his photos is that the new wood stove is at the house and ready to be installed! Once the hearth slab is in, he will begin this project. I am eager to see the final results!

He also sent me another photo of the kitchen now that the back splash installation has been completed (in May). I am eager to cook our first meal for Dave and I in our Sweet Montana Home!! We are also planning our first "dinner party" next month, inviting our Realtor/Property Management guy, our wonderful Contractor and their better halves!!

A little sneak peek of what's going on 1800+ miles away! I can't wait!

Monday, July 15, 2013


Things have been pretty quiet here lately since the downstairs guest bedroom remodel has required a lot of prep work. With the tile drain now installed to channel the rain and snow melt away from the house, it is no longer backing into the guest bedroom. Our contractor patched the ceiling where we had an "issue" and smoothed out the wall where the previous owners had enclosed a doorway. He also finished the molding and trim work, installed a door and picked up the new lockset I had ordered.

(I repainted the bedroom ceiling last October except for the area that needed to be repaired. We've also had a new ceiling fan installed.)

The next step will be the new wood flooring. Our decision was both easy and difficult at the same time. Dave is a HUGE fan of Bamboo with it's woven strands and epoxy making it much more durable than more inexpensive "Pergo-type" flooring. We had Bamboo installed in the Family Room remodel and absolutely love it, so selecting Bamboo was the easy part. Due to the existing wood in the bedroom's built in's and the need to transition from the oak "Pergo-style" flooring in the office area outside the doorway, the hard part was choosing the color. After making our choice and placing the order, it took about a month for the company to get the materials in and then another 10 days to have them shipped to Montana from the warehouse in California.The Contractor told me that the flooring is beautiful and I can't wait for him to get started!

(Our flooring choice.)

However before the flooring could be laid, our Contractor had to not only seal the floor, he had to level it! He sent me these pictures and I was surprised to see how unlevel the floor was in some areas!

(I ordered 2 of these rugs for the guest bedroom.)

Along with all of the prep work for the bedroom, we ordered our second wood stove, this one will go into the dining room. We made the decision shortly after we bought the house that we should have a back up heat source in the wintertime, just in case we lose power. We bought another KUMA brand wood stove, this one (the Ashwood model) is larger than the wood stove we had installed in the Family Room.

(We ordered it without the pedestal, it sits on cast iron legs.)

Our Contractor is going to bring a slab from the quarry to use for our hearth pad underneath the stove. He sent me these pictures so I could choose but I ended up leaving the final choice with him! He made a great choice for the Family Room hearth and any of these will look great!!

We have a new washer and dryer being delivered on August 26th and we have 2 rocking chairs and a small table being delivered while we are at the house next month.

I can't wait to put these chairs and the table on the front porch of our Sweet Montana Home and greet the morning with a cup of coffee in hand, listening to the birds singing and the wind in the trees!