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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Archer and Saphira's Venture East

The drive to Northern MN was uneventful with a few exceptions. It was the first time Saphira had ever driven so far. Her car, Peggy Sue, an early 90's calico model made it just fine as did ours. The road across MT and the Dakotas was hot and unforgiving. Sweat dripped off my back and the only thing that held my sanity intact was the Lois L'Amour novel I escaped into. After asking Hubby to stop at a creek a few times, he finally stopped late afternoon at The Milk River. I didn't know what kind of creepy things lurked in the MILKY substance but nothing seemed as bad as the smell of my armpits. I plunged in as my kids stood by watching horrified. It was a temporary relief, and eventually the milky muddy stuff dried and mixed with new formed drops of sweat.......

We were really thankful that my mom happened to have a free hotel room and eagerly checked in close to midnight. A strange lad with a long face and hair to match welcomed me at the door, puffing on a cigarette. I asked him if he was the one giving directions and when he said "yes", I told him not to quit his day job. "Night" he corrected me. After that things were a bit awkward until I complimented his forearm tatoo. Soon he was proudly displaying many of them and forgot to continue the checking in process. To my shock and unexpected horror he proudly proclaimed he was a Wiccan and with mock superman like moves, he ripped his shirt open displaying a bold inky pentagram on his chest. I stared at the tat dumbfounded. I didn't have anything snappy to come back with, took my room card and stumbled out to the car befuddled.

Archer, Ali Cat and my grandbaby had already made the trip. Now we had escorted Saphira here back to our ancient homes in Northern MN. We gawked at the big trees that were once small and the strangeness of how things never change but at the same time an eternity has gone by. "Little Bobby" the neighbor boy was now a hulking man no one would ever call little again. Kids grow, people change, but coming home is still the same nostalgic aura. It never changes.

We got to see 2 great great grandmothers brought in from Nebraska by an aunt and sat for 5 generation photos in my inlaws back yard. We did a lot of fun activities with a lot of family and I got one last run in with my Miss Saphira whom I will miss terribly. Miss Moonbeam got to sleep with her and pee on her one last time as well. I kissed my grandbaby for hours and hours and days and days and I was even pleased that with the last kiss goodbye he proceeded to vomit up breast milk in my hair minutes before our departure back home.

Saphira and I visited her new college and we were pleased. The faculty seemed nice and it was just blocks from my sisters. A giant body of water, also just blocks away will keep her occupied and inspired. We even visited the local health food store and knew she'd make out okay. She and Archer will have each other to study with. They have both sets of grandparents, my sisters family and a host of good friends. There is not a better place I could be trusting them to. Before leaving, my mom led us all in a deep heart felt prayer and we all knew everything was in God's capable hands.....

The day finally came, the visiting was over and we said a lot of long goodbyes. The driving seemed equally long and we decided to get a room in Havre. It was dark and wet. We'd some how avoided a lot of serious storms. I stepped into a big puddle of standing water in a dimly lit parking lot off a dark forlorn street. I rapped quietly on the door and then rang the bell. At first nobody came and I was mostly glad. Then as I stepped back into the puddle a sinister looking gentleman appeared, cracking the door just slightly. "Good eveing" he whispered in an almost eerie tone. Hurridly, I paid for a room, eager to be out of the office............. I stepped into another puddle of standing water and then stepped up opening the door to the gruesome interior. A putrid smell of cigarettes and unfamilliar odors assaulted my senses and I battled my way inside. Soon I was face to face with the beast, er room. I pulled back the sheets to see what might be lurking. Mainly old cigarette burns was my only discovery. Then I edged to the bathroom. To my shock and horror, in the tub was alot of long black hairs mingled in with a host of short ones. I imagine possibly a werewolf had recently bathed there. Judging by the rank odor, he may have stored some snacks under the beds to return to later, perhaps half eaten carcasses of prior guests. One of the boys came to the doorway and asked if he could sleep in the car. My husband complained about me purchasing the room and asked if I was acutally going to stay here. Everyone was crinkling up their noses in disgust. I decided we should make a quick escape......

The hotel room was rented by a nice girl who told me there was no house keepers on that day so she would have go go search around to see if any of the rooms were clean. Eventually she rented me a room that looked okay. After I paid for it she asked me if I needed a key. Turns out all its keys were "missing" but she could go to the basement and make one later on. I wondered who had the keys and if they would decide to let themselves in. The door looked like it'd been kicked in and I figured they didn't need the key if they really wanted back in. ArtDog slept with a gun under his pillow and I felt a lot safer only seeing a couple of hairs in the bath tub.

On we drove until we got back to the mountains. A new and unknown adventure soon to begin. Now a family of 5, we would somehow have to survive. Artdog suggested that things would be much cooler now that he was in charge. Miss Moonbeam laughed hysterically pretending she had a monkey on her head alternating with breastfeeding her new doll. She informed us she "squeezed her nickles" to get some breast milk for her babies tippy sippee. Super Catman arranged rubber bands on a board in alien and animal shapes. My husband wore my zebra print sunglasses as he'd forgotten his own. Louis L'Amour and the antics of my family kept me better entertained and the mountains seemed to loom up ahead of us as if by microwave magic. I wondered what kind of adventures awaited us and if this property closing would actually happen tomorrow. Only time would tell. The mountains whispered expectancy of some great thing to come and I sensed I was embarking on some kind of greater purpose my mind wasn't ready to comprehend. Miss Moonbeam informed us "The problem with being homeless is that you really don't have any place to go". Would we continue to live in the forest or would something finally come together? It really didn't matter. I knew we weren't leaving Yaak. For better or for worse, we were making our way back there and I knew come what may my husband wasn't leaving...........

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Dreamy Yaak Summer

It was like stepping into a different dimension and everything changed. The day we pulled up here at our secret camping location, everything just felt "right". It didn't take long for our old friends to show up and pull us right back into our old life, or one like it anyway. Soon Gracie and Elasta Woman had the kids and I out scouring the sides of a mountain for huckleberries. We got up in the dark, at an unGodly hour and made our way up the long winding roads into berry paradise. This was the best year Yaak has seen for huckleberries in years, and my freezer was soon overloaded beyond capacity. We'd get back exhausted and purple with muscles aching and then head out to play in the nearby lake or river with our kids in tow.

We met for devotions, as they affectionately joked "at my place" and we were all so overjoyed to see our Goatgirl, now with child. In all the years we'd done devotions, we'd prayed earnestly for God to giver her a miracle. Here we were coming back at such a strange time that she would be finally seeing her miracle. She asked me to be there for her special day this coming January. As we prayed together for the community and for our needs, we felt energized with Gods presence. There was so much expectation, and the campsite burned with hope in Gods promises. Just a few days later Elasta woman was up on a mountain with her kids, alone with a flat tire. After jacking it up and removing the lug nuts, she couldn't budge the tire. She cried out to God frustrated after many many attempts. Her little girl leaned against the car to pray. Suddenly the jack slipped, the car fell and the tire popped off......................

We pursued our 5th attempt at buying a property in the Yaak. This was done in a very unusual and unconventional manner. Our realtor lady lives up by Elasta Woman. Every evening she and her husband go to the tavern, have a few beers and mingle. On the way up and sometimes back she brings us news of whats going on with whatever property we are currently working on. Since we don't have a phone, its convenient that she drives by daily. Our last papers were signed at the bar and our last news came from her as we were walking across the river. One of the kids yelled she was there and we came back soaking wet to hear what she had to say. Anyway, back to the current property we're trying to buy. Its the one I had really really not wanted, but one my husband liked. Its also our best current hope for starting a business because its along the main way in and out of Yaak. My husband plans to put up a mechanics shop on one of the parcels and a house to sell at a later date on the other. It will be a busy busy fall of building if it all goes through. Right now there is just an old cabin up on one of the spots. Giving up my 2 beautiful houses with the only structure existent at the time is an old cabin was really really hard on my train of thought, but I am confident in Matthews skills in house building. I know I won't be disappointed with him on the job. Nobody has his skill and creativity. My husband and boys are excited to learn as well.

The past weeks have been so dreamy with river floats, playing with friends, sunshine and water. Its like a happy dream mixing the past and the future in an endless summer bliss. I forget I'm 41 when I'm bikini clad jumping off the bridge with my kids and girlfriends into the deep deep river far below. I forget for a while about all the struggles and hardships and ghosts. Summer in Yaak is always endless and wonderful, but then winter comes. I'll miss my gigantic house up on the mountain, but I'll have a lot easier time getting in and out. I'll also be surrounded by my good friends and I know that God will make a way. For a long time I wanted what was convenient and easy for me - living close to town, being able to buy milk, etc., but I realize that a part of me died when I left. The beauty of the land and the depth of our friends could never ever be replaced. After devotions, I also realized that there is a power in us girls praying together unlike I've ever seen in any group I've ever been in. When we come together, God supernaturally moves and we see miracles. Its really not about me and what I want. Its about what God wants and about what He's doing. For whatever reason, He wants us here and I have to stop fighting it. Whatever hardships I have to endure are not to be compared with living my life outside Gods plan. So here I am in a motor home, bathing in cool river waters and living in the forest and its not as bad as I was afraid it would be. Its actually been a lot of fun once I got over myself.


Monday, August 4, 2014


It was one of many days of driving hours and hours with accomplishing not much of anything. Another beautiful summer day down the drain. This one was particularly discouraging because it was the 3rd of 4 attempts to buy property thus far. The first had been a lumber yard owned repo which we'd wasted months on. After that, it was a commercial property for a shop and house, my husband had been really really excited about it. We had lost out on our closing date days before due to a technicality and one missing signature. In the end, my husband had paid out a few grand in expenses for things we did not need now that the sale was not going through. It was frustrating trying to get signatures of people who wouldn't sign. After weeks of waiting we were back to square one. I hadn't wanted to go land shopping the very next day, but my husband was determined. We had stopped at the bank and I had mentioned pizza would make a really cheap date, half heartedly. I was pretty sure he didn't want to spend the $9. After doing our bank business, we got back to the truck with the shocking discovery that my otherwise perfect husband, who never forgot anything at all, forgot and locked the keys in the truck.

We looked at each other and he began prying open the back window. We were there standing in the cab of the truck in the bank parking lot and began attracting attention with our obvious break in technique. Finally he had the window pried apart enough for me to barely attempt a shimmy. I dove in head first, imagining myself stuck there with my feet in the air. As I slid in, the latch of the window caught my shorts and undies and soon I was half way in the truck with a full moon facing the public eye. I couldn't stop laughing. Now, in my head, the fire department was there trying to loose a half naked woman, rump in midair. With a few desperate upside down pulls, I drug the rest of my booty through the tight window space and my booty was at least now inside the truck. My husband laughed and I laughed and he caved on the pizza.

Its a good thing he caved on the pizza because it was the day of the terrible storm. We'd found a parcel on the edge of a fancy subdivision in none other than the Yaak (the place he's determined to be). It was a nice 6 acre piece and he was thrilled with it. The big mistake was my friendliness to the neighbors. They seemed to love us and chatted real friendly. After making the offer, we hit the worst storm of the year. Hail beat down, trees fell and massive damage happened in the blink of an eye. We had to pull over because we couldn't see. When it let up, Kevin helped another man moving trees out of the highway. Within minutes of clearing them, an ambulence came flying by. Thank God the trees had just been cleared. Anyway, the Yaak's power was out for about 4 days. During that time, our realtor submitted an offer via the internet which was delayed. The friendly neighbors must have rushed to town and offered full price because by the time we found out, we'd lost out again.

We also attempted to buy a rat infested house on a beautiful property, and considered an off grid dump with a beautiful river piece. Then we tried to get my favorite of them all, an unbelievable 20 acre parcel on the river. It would have taken a lot of our money and we'd have had to build a house slowly, but the tall cedars spoke to me there. I knew the property was well worth the investment. That one was sale pending by the time we got the offer in. My husband joked with our realtor that she should just have him go look at anything she might want sold. I went from praying in a seemingly spiritual warfare passionately to times where I didn't want to get out of bed to face the world.


We stayed at the ranch north of Bonners Ferry for well over a month. The owners were very kind, but eventually relocated us down by our son. I know they needed their space, and I will always remember them for their generousity. For a week or so, I got to rock my grandbaby every day and I loved it, but my son, too, needed his privacy. It was apparant before long that he really needed his own space and it hurt me deeply, but I understood. The day came when we packed up our caravan of what was travelable and began the maiden voyage to the Yaak. I felt scared and relieved at the same time. We were giving up electricity, internet, phone, family, but gaining the fact that we were no longer burdening anybody.

Something happened to me driving up there. I felt so much relief and peace. The community center had one freezer space left and I gratefully took it. Now I had a way to harvest and store for winter. After getting that situated, my husband surprised us with the most wonderful, camping spot ever, right in our old stomping grounds. It is in a beautiful meadow right on a low spot of river where we used to spend a lot of time. A cold spring graces its banks and we have fresh, cold drinking water pouring out anytime of day or night. An outhouse with no walls is a short bit into the woods adds to its quirky personality. Not a far walk away is the lake I used to swim in. A few miles away are the bars with internet access, and the freezer is also close. Its central to any direction we may want to property search. Best of all, its so peaceful and private. Hardly no one knows about how wonderful it really is. I felt like a different person just pulling in. It was like finding myself all over again.

I remember how my eldest son would hunt bear in here on lazy evenings and boast of the wonderful spring water and rushing creeks. My kids were overjoyed. They roamed and remembered each secret place with great joy. I played Heather Clark and felt such joy, like I'd not found in a very long time.