Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 In Review, Part I

On this, the 23rd of December 2014, it seems appropriate to write up a review of the preceding year. and since I always intersperse my words with my photos, I'm choosing to write this review on the basis of the photos I've taken over the course of the year--one photo for every month, which means that I'll divide this into two parts, each covering six months.  What follows today then is January through June.  On Friday, Boxing Day as it were, I'll box up the year and put it away.

My kitchen orchid in full bloom
January 5, 2014

January is not normally known for its floral displays, at least not in northwestern Montana.  But one of the big additions to my life this year has been my increased interest in flowers.  My mother always had house plants, and one of the hardest things for her in our move to California was giving up all her African violets which would not have been allowed into the Golden State.  I bought the orchid pictured above three years ago as a decoration for my gallery space on Missoula's First Friday opening night.  I'd never had orchids, but this one bloomed for quite some time, then, as happens, lost its blooms.  January 2014 was the second time it had bloomed in our new home, and I was glad to be able to catch its beauty in pixels.  Since then, my friend Hank gave me his two large orchids and I have great hope that I will see them bloom as well, some time soon.  In addition to the three orchids, I have had great luck with my Christmas Cactus, which bloomed three times during 2014, and I added an Orchid Cactus this spring.  This latter plant has been growing like crazy, its various shoots are now covering my coffee table, and I can't wait to see it bloom this spring.  The ones blooming in the greenhouse where I bought mine looked like a Christmas Cactus on steroids.

Gypsy in the Snow
February 24, 2014

February was a winter wonderland.  With one exception, all the days I spent camera in hand brought back pictures of snow scapes.  Snow on our driveway, snow on the mountains, snow on the trees, snow by the river.  It was like a photographic exposition of Wolfgang Borchert's story Der Viele, Viele Schnee (I cannot find an English translation of this story so I'll call it The Very Great Snowfall) which I read in my early days at Berkeley.  Borchert was writing from his experience on the Eastern (Russian) Front as a soldier in Hitler's Wehrmacht.  Most reviewers comment on the ubiquity of the snow and the silence it engenders, somewhere in Russia.  With five Miniature Pinschers in the house, we never have to worry about silence.  Or perhaps, silence would be a cause for worry.

St. David's Day Cactus
March 1, 2014

March brought more snow, and I have photos a plenty of dogs, deer, mountains, etc. in the snow, but by the 20th of the month, my pictures show bare ground.  I did get a wonderful shot of an Amish buggy at the Mission General Store in St. Ignatius, now one of my favorite photos, but we didn't travel much in March, other than running Kevin's bread route.  My question for the month is "What do you call a Christmas Cactus that blooms on March First?"  Perhaps a St. David's Day Cactus, as the feast day for that Welsh Saint is the first of March.

The Polson Docks on Flathead Lake with the Mission Mountains in the background
April 10, 2014

My photos for April show that grass was turning green, even if there was still considerable snow in the mountains around us.  I have pictures of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep on the highway, white-tailed deer in the back yard, a herd of elk in a field nearby, cows just down the road, and our first bear (actually the only bear I saw all year) just off Prospect Creek Road leading to Thompson Pass.  But perhaps the most iconic photo I took in April was the one showing the heavy snowpack in the Mission Mountains while Flathead Lake was still too low for boating.  Not sure that anyone would want to be out boating in a Montana April, even if I did see one brave gent driving his convertible down Highway 200 with the top down.

Dahlia After the Rain
May 4, 2014

And what do April Showers bring if not May Flowers?  May was a glorious month.  Kevin had I don't know how many cubic yards of top soil brought in so we could plant a garden.  This was to be a vegetable garden.  My flowers stayed in pots on the deck.  I discovered Dahlias.  Never had them before, but I have them now.  Lots of different sizes, shapes, colors.  What beautiful plants--and they'll bloom all summer long if I remember to dead head them.  May also saw me back out in the wild, GPS in hand, geocaching, beginning with a meeting with other cachers out at Trout Creek.  Mother's Day took us to the Amber Bear Inn in Heron, Montana for Sunday Brunch with Doug Jones and Adar Benjamin, and more geocaching.  Yet another passion of mine, cars, was fed by a visit to Sandpoint, Idaho and their annual classic car show on the 17th.  And still more geocaching.

My 1980 Triumph TR7, Entry 5 in the Plains Day Parade
June 7, 2014

June First took me to the Ross Creek Cedars between Noxon and Troy, Montana.  I have wanted to visit this preserve for many years, and by 2014, the trip was long past due.  That may be why I visited the Cedar Grove three times over the summer.  Or it may be because the grove reminds me of the redwood forests in Northern California. June also saw my hibiscus blooming.  There are now four hibiscus plants in different colors and sizes growing in the den.  Plains Day and the Hot Springs Homesteaders' Day were festive occasions here in Sanders County.  The garden grew well.  Lots more geocaching around the area, and all in all, a good month to be alive.  In fact, I have no regrets for the first half of 2014, and while there are always things we could have done differently, I’m pleased with the way my life is going.  Come back on Friday for the second half of the year.

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