Missoula’s Blue Mountain B&B: “Deer” Diary #1

August 1, 2013
“Deer” Diary,                   

This is the first of my entries about the activities here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.  I’m a spectator of sorts (or maybe that should be of SNORTS).  A lot goes on under my watchful eye on this beautiful mountain and I must say the two leggeds and their furry entourage are most entertaining at times!
I am just one of the many deer that frequently camp out just above the bed and breakfast.  There are some tasty plants here and sometimes we get through the gate to browse in the garden.  A few acres out of the twenty is supposed to be all fenced off, but we’ve lucked out for a while now.  It’s pretty nice that the bed and breakfast is a certified wildlife habitat because it means there is plenty of food, water and shelter for lots of living things to enjoy- me included!  When you count all of the land behind the bed and breakfast, including the Blue Mountain
Recreation area and Lolo National Forest, it makes up one of  the largest wilderness and forested territories in the West!  I’m glad I was born on this mountain, that’s for sure.
Depending on the time of year or even the time of day, you may catch a glimpse of one of us.  In the early spring, the two leggeds often see us casually munching on the hillside right above the inn.  If you happen to spot one of us on the hill, use a few clues so that you can figure out whether you are looking at a white tail or a  mule deer.  I won’t give away who I am, because it’s more fun to let you figure that our for yourself!  I do know that until a couple of years ago, it was rare for a person to see any mule deer in the area.  Sometimes our elk relatives come through the property as well, but they haven’t been seen for a while now.  I have heard bad news that many white tail have died off in parts of north eastern Montana because of a hemorrhagic disease that is transmitted by biting midges.  All of us wild ungulates (hoofed mammals) are susceptible, but it has hit the white tail the hardest.  I stay hopeful in thinking that we will escape this die-off that some scientists believe has increased because of wet spring conditions in certain areas.  The guests at Blue Mountain will be happy to note that this is not a transmittable disease from deer to humans and it doesn’t seem to greatly effect domesticated ungulates such as horses and cattle.
August has somehow crept upon us, which means the days are often in the 80’s or even 90’s, but the nights are cooling off.  The hillsides have dried out, but the golden hew of the native grasses look as lovely as the mid-day sun.  In the heat of summer, we have retreated a bit so it’s hard to catch a glimpse of us.  So far, we’ve kept the whereabouts of our fawns secret all season!
A few changes have taken place over the last few weeks:                   Morningside Red-Tailed Fledgling
*The fledgling red tailed hawks have begun to mature since we hear fewer of their juvenile cries.  Their presence is something the two leggeds look forward to every year!
*The honeysuckle flowers that had died back are now preparing for their final fall finale.  Varieties of daisies, poppies and lilies have put on quite a show and the glorious white hydrangea near the waterfall beckons people to relax and listen to nature’s music in the shade.       

Western TanagerLonicera ciliosa bloom
*The cherry trees have ripened and gone- Mrs. Robin lived up to her name again, robin’ all of the stores.  Each year she carries away most of the cherries and the moss from the waterfall, but the hidden nests found later when the trees have lost their leaves make it all worth while.  In addition to the robins, several elusive Western Tanagers were seen in the pine and fruit trees this year, a real treat for the guests who visit the bed and breakfast.  As for us, we wait for the apple crop to mature and hope that the gate will not yet be fixed!

*The humming birds continue to come to the feeders, many of them this summer’s offspring.  Their numbers keep multiplying, partly due to their nectar sources.  The two legged innkeepers have kept the sugar content high throughout the year to ensure they are able to concentrate on their nesting needs.  Several years of consistent feeding means the hummers come back every year and the numbers multiply.  The varieties of plants that flower from spring to fall on the mountain and in the gardens certainly add to their diet.  They always seem happy zipping and darting from flower to flower.
*Many people seem to come and go throughout the summer season with different accents and interests, but all polite and intrigued by the wildlife.  The wild cottontail bunnies have been a real hit with the guests thus far.
Pistol Creek

*Lovely kitchen aromas waft through the air, especially in the early hours of the morning.  I long for a taste of the the German puff pancake served with cinnamon and nutmeg spiced apple-huckleberry sauce.  The recipe is listed below if you’d like to try and whip it up in your own kitchen!  I’ll do some snooping around before my next “Deer” Diary Entry so I can share one of the newest breakfast additions from this summer. Well, I guess this is the last of today’s tale, or is that tail?  It’s sure been fun doing some summer reminiscing, but now it’s truly time to high tail it up the hill even further before darkness settles in!

 German Puff Pancake with Apples & Wild Berries
(Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, LLP)
4 Eggs (lightly beaten)            1 C. Sugar                   
1 C. Milk                                2  t. Vanilla
1/4 t. Salt                             ½ t. Almond ex.
1 C. Flour                             4 T. Butter (divided)
1 T Butter                            2 apples (peeled and chopped)
2 T. Sugar                           1 C. Berries, half pureed
 ½ t Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  2t Corn starch
-Preheat oven to 400
-Put 9″ cast iron skillet on stove top and melt 1T of the butter
-Very lightly mix eggs, milk, salt, sugar and flour in a blender, or by hand with a whisk.
-When Butter is melted and hot, pour batter in and put in oven for 23-25 minutes.
 -While pancake is baking, melt rest of butter in a non-stick pan, add sugar, apples and spices.
    Cook on high for 3 minutes, then turn down to low and simmer for 5 more. 
-Add vanilla and almond extract, mix together and let sit on lowest setting. 
Remove pancake from skillet to a plate, top with apples and serve!    

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