Lap cat, curl up cat
In the shadows cat
Lapping milk from a bone white bowl
Stalking around at the midnight hour
Up all night
@Elaine Anderson-Wood 2o14
“Did I just see a Montana Grizzly or was that a Black Bear?”
This weekend has proven to be quite the bear sightseeing tour! Be happy that’s not bare (as in the latest Missoula bike festival- don’t ask)!
If you are coming to Missoula, Montana for some wildlife viewing, the best place to see a grizzly is in the Washington-Grizzly Stadium during a home game. Missoulians are pretty proud of their football team. Outside of the stadium, however, some people aren’t as wild about the re-introduction of the Grizzly. That’s a whole new topic and a story for later on.
Few, if any, grizzly bears are seen in the Missoula/Lolo area and thankfully, we’ve never personally run into one while exploring the woods. However, if you happen to visit Glacier DO REMEMBER that grizzly bears go hiking too! The probability of running into a bear of any kind in Montana is much less than meeting an angry person which means the statistics of bear run-ins are pretty low. In reality, Missoula doesn’t harbor many angry people, there are too many things to do and enjoy here!
Now if you dig a bit deeper, Montana history is full of interesting stories where men and women clash over many issues. Our own road “Deadman Gulch” actually earned its name years ago from an argument over water rights that obviously didn’t go so well for one individual. Montana does have an interesting history of stage coach robberies, vigilante hangings and even moon shine “wars” right here in the Missoula area. There have even been a few pretty crazy individuals to roam modern Montana as well. Overall, those are just headlines that sell books and our “wild west image.” In truth, Montana has good-hearted people and is known for being one of the friendliest places in the U.S. to visit or live. We have many guests who comment on how welcome they feel upon their arrival here in Big Sky Country. Friendliness, Fun and Fuzzy Creatures are top reasons to come for a visit!
Brady and I don’t often see football games in person. For us, the busiest time of the workweek consists of Friday, Saturday and Sunday- when guests are exploring the town. What we love about innkeeping is the ability to live vicariously through our guests who come to enjoy games, concerts and hiking trails! Since Blue Mountain is literally part of our backyard, we almost always have time to enjoy nature.
Today was one of those glorious, autumn afternoons. The temperature was perfect and I was sure I heard John Denver singing “Sunshine on my shoulders…” For me, having the ability to instantly get out and enjoy nature is as rewarding as life gets. Probably the thing I like most about fall days is you never know who else might be out enjoying a stroll.
Deer try to camouflage themselves in the long, golden grass, while hawks often circle above. We’ve seen darling foxes creeping through the thickets and the last of the fuzzy caterpillars munching leaves as fast as possible. All of these amazing creatures of the forest know that Jack Frost will soon come knocking at the “door.” Now is the time to store food and take in the last rays of sun!
Here on Blue Mountain, fall is a magical time to enjoy the slow changing of the seasons. Birds begin to migrate and summer fawns lose their spots, growing into adulthood. I often think about the hidden forest secrets I’ve not yet discovered and wonder how many eyes are watching me as I casually walk through the forest. For me, such mysteries are comforting- I am but one tiny piece in a vast wilderness of wildlife.
Once in awhile, I think there just might be a chance that I’ve spotted something wild and wooly without being detected. I’d like to think so, because I wish to leave as light a footprint as possibly along the path I choose to walk.
Today gave us one of the rarest of magical moments as we neared the end of our forest journey. Just above the road, we watched a healthy black bear yearling cub climb the hill and then disappear from view. In football terms, my guess is he was just about on the ten yard line. It was a fairly close encounter, but certainly not a worrisome one. As the laziness of an autumn day allows, he slowly ambled up the hillside. The bear’s thoughts seemed to be elsewhere- likely focused on filling his belly with the the last of this summer’s berries. Not so unlike one of our autumn tasks- packing away delicious preserves in our storeroom for guests. Indeed, it is time once again to prepare for Old Man Winter’s return!
Whether you are a local or from out of town, we hope you find the time to explore Blue Mountain on your own. We always welcome you to stay with us here at the B&B while you enjoy the views and wildlife, our home made berry preserves and hospitality. We, and the mountain are awaiting your visit!
May 14th is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day!
You will find that our Blue Mountain B&B BUTTERMILK BISCUITS will literally melt in your mouth. They are hard to resist right out of the oven and make a delicious treat smothered in honey or homemade jam. For our guests, these flaky homemade biscuits are a breakfast favorite when served with our biscuits and gravy recipe, passed down through the family.
The biscuits also make an excellent lunch accompaniment when paired with one of our savory soup recipes. For dinner, they always go nicely with one of our many Western BBQ specialties. Every year, we have a French family that stays with us just for our BBQ dinner and the views that go with it.
Note: Just adding shredded cheddar cheese to the dough and basting them with melted garlic butter gives the biscuits a whole new, amazing twist!
Buttermilk biscuits are almost in the same league as baseball and apple pie- a true American standard.
No matter what meal you serve the biscuits with, they always will be a BIG HIT!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
*Breakfast Biscuits (We often serve with biscuits and gravy.)
-Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in butter with a pastry knife. The butter should be in pea-sized pieces (or just a bit larger).
Fold in buttermilk and then knead on floured surface about 6 or 8 times. Pat out to 1″ thick (an 8×8 inch square). Cut in 16 pieces and bake for 14 min.
*Dinner Biscuits (Served with savory soups and BBQ dinners)
-Add the larger amount of milk and mix in 2 C. shredded cheddar cheese. Drop large spoon fulls of dough onto a baking sheet (we use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper).
Bake for about 14 min. Take out of oven and baste with 3 T. melted butter mixed with 1 tsp. granulated garlic. Serve right away!
We hope you enjoy trying these out in your own kitchen or possibly spending a night here at Blue Mountain B&B! In the summer and early fall, guests enjoy eating outside by the waterfall. In the winter and spring, our large picture windows look out on our Japanese water garden to the west and the Bitterroot River and Missoula to the east. The view is ever changing and beautiful and our elevated location makes one feel like they are in a comfortable castle or a mountain chalet. We welcome you any time of the year for a wonderful retreat!
A LITTLE LIMERICK:
Since International Donkey Day and National Limerick Day both fall in MAY, it seems fitting to share the following poem!
There once was a donkey named Hank
Who took part in many a prank
He’d wink his one eye
And swish at each fly
That silly donkey named Hank
My first introduction to donkeys was in the Emerald Isle itself. When I was just ten, my grandfather took me on a farm tour of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I can still visualize many scenes, as if it happened yesterday. One of my favorite experience was watching a donkey carry a load of milk cans down a narrow, windy road. That experience was unforgettable and I’ve loved donkeys ever since! I still keep some treasures from that special trip long ago, most of which are in our Victorian-style guest room named The Rose.
The odd thing about both donkeys and limericks is that they both are uniquely funny. I guess that’s why they are a perfect pairing of holiday themes. I do wonder if March (because of St. Patrick’s Day) would be a more fitting month than May, but here in Montana we often don’t see the lush, green of grass until May anyway.
When staying at BLUE MOUNTAIN BED AND BREAKFAST, you can always pet our four footed equines over the fence. We have two Mammoth Jackstock riding donkeys, two mules and a Norwegian Fjord horse. All of them live at the bottom of the mountain from the actual B&B. If they lived with us, we might need to rename our business “Blue Mountain Bed and BRAY!” I’ve stayed at B&B’s before that used peacock “clocks” as a wake-up call. I certainly don’t think we need to use loud birds or donkeys any time soon to wake up our happily, sleeping guests!
All of our equines are gentle enough for children to be around. In fact, Hank- pictured here, is a therapy donkey and is registered in The Donkey Hall of Fame for his various accomplishments. He loves birthday parties and becomes quite vocal about it, welcoming all the kids from every direction!
We aren’t a riding facility, but there is one just a few miles from our B&B that we highly recommend.
Dunrovin Ranch, in Lolo, has smooth Tennessee Walkers for you to ride. We’ve had many guests enjoy a few hours or a day out with one of their guides on the area trails. You can call Dunrovin ahead of time to make a reservation or wait until you arrive in Missoula.
Fun Ditties About Donkeys (Most taken from Sue Weaver’s wonderful book entitled The Donkey Companion.)
If you enjoyed learning some of these fun-filled facts, you may wish to purchase the following books or find them at your local library!
-The Donkey Companion Selecting, Training, Breeding, Enjoying & Caring for Donkeys by Sue Weaver (The majority of the information above comes from this resource.)
–Training Mules and Donkeys: A Logical Approach To Longears by Meredith Hodges
–The Definitive Donkey A Textbook on the Modern Ass by Betsy and Paul Hutchins
-“The Brayer Journal of the American Donkey and Mule Society”
*If these aren’t enough, just click on the following link for a long list of donkey-related articles!
You will also enjoy following the Team Donk blog written by Kristi Kingma whom we purchased Hank from. She uses her donkeys as pulling machines which is pretty amazing to watch. Hank prefers to be a riding donkey and desperately wanted to be around children again. Thus, in the fall of 2013, Hank made a trailer trek from Idaho to Montana. He now is an official Montana citizen and proudly “wears” Montana’s only zip code number: 406!
Hank is such a kind, gentle, yet inquisitive soul and truly a KICK to be around so to speak. In actuality, if you treat donkeys well, they are 99 times more likely to follow you around like a puppy dog than kick you. Both donkeys and mules can kick sideways as well as back and are notorious for taking their anger out on an abuser at the least expected moment. However, if you treat a donkey well, he or she will become your loyal and trusted friend.
When placing a young child on an equine for the first time, I’d almost always choose a donkey over a horse. Many folks have never been let in on the secret of donkeys and mules- they are the cadillacs of the equine world: smooth, steady, trustworthy and built to last. If you get a hankering to meet a donkey, you know where to find one. HANK is always hanging around the farm waiting to meet new friends!
CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO WITH THIS SAVORY SOUP!
It’s always fun to celebrate a holiday and May 5th is one of those times!
This is one of my favorite soup recipes because of its wonderful Mexican flair! Sometimes during the Christmas holiday, our family chooses a particular ethnicity to celebrate. This was a soup my cousin, Hal Meng, shared with us and we’ve enjoyed it ever since. We served this soup to several guests just this week in fact. It’s easy to make any time of year- so please enjoy!
2/3 C rice
1 tsp cumin
6 cups chicken stock
1 small can chopped green chiles
Pepper and salt
1 14-16 oz can garbanzo beans with liquid
1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces
Grated jack or pepper jack cheese
2 avacados (sliced or made into guacamole)
Heat butter and saute onions and garlic over low heat for 10′ in large pot.
Add rice, cumin and chicken stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 25′ until rice is tender.
Pan fry chicken with salt and pepper in a T of butter until pieces are just done.
Add chicken, garbanzos with liquid, salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for another 5′.
Garnish with toppings or allow people to add their own, buffet style.
Serve with warm, flour tortillas or corn chips!
Spice it up a bit with a habanero hot sauce.
If you’d like to know more about the historical and cultural aspects of Cinco De Mayo, click on the following link.
When making a reservation at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, you can always request a gourmet dinner (with a party of six or more)! Ethnic cooking is one of our specialties and one of the things we enjoy doing most.
You can always enjoy going to a Mexican restaurant in Missoula or the surrounding area. The most authentic place we’ve discovered is La Mas Fina (Address: 1026 U.S. 93, Victor, Mt 59875 Phone:(406) 961-4997) which is a little hole in the wall near the small town of Corvallis, Montana in the Bitterroot Valley. We also enjoy going to El Casador, in downtown Missoula as well as Fiesta En Jalisco which is on Missoula’s south side closer to our bed and breakfast.
My name is Kristi Dement and I help Brady and Elaine with blogging for their bed and breakfast. You can check out my website at Bed and Breakfast Blogging. It is not hard to see why these two live where they live.
The views are absolutely breathtaking and the nature and wildlife in the area are enchanting. Elaine takes gorgeous professional pictures and is a certified tour guide while Brady receives great guest comments about his delicious breakfasts and tremendous knowledge of the local area.
Brady and Elaine are the real deal. They truly love hosting people at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast. The following is just a sample of the glowing comments guests have given them on the website Trip Advisor:
“I slept like a baby in your very comfy room.” (visitor from Los Angeles, CA)
“This is like staying at a good friend’s mountain home.” (guest from Lexington, KY)
“We had our own deck with a wonderful view.” (Robin R. from Scotsdale, AR)
“…outstanding breakfasts (not a single repeat and all were exceptionally good).” (guest from Hot Springs, AK)
“You can hike morning or evening and you are almost sure to see deer.” (Top Contributor, Monpetit, from Vannes)
“Brady was a wonderful host and full of valuable information about things to do and see in the area. He was born and raised here!” (Karen C. from Livonia, MI)
“Brady and Elaine have made an art of hospitality!” (Madoc from Lubbock)
“All I can say is you absolutely have to try this B&B to believe how wonderful it really is.” (visitor Stacey Clark)
“The owners have gone to a great deal of trouble to think of everything you might need to make your stay tranquil and pleasing.” (guest from Cambridgeshire)
It is an honor for me, Kristi Dement, to help these two with their blogging and social media. They make inn-keeping seem easy, but I am sure it is a lot of hard work. For them I know it is a labor of love.
Brady and Elaine’s gift for hosting people from all over the world shows and guests want to return for repeat visits to see them and enjoy the peaceful and scenic area of Missoula, Montana. I highly recommend staying at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast and so do many other guests!
Innkeepers Brady and Elaine Anderson-Wood love extending hospitality to their guests at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast in Missoula, Montana. Missoula is said to be “the best small town under 100,000 people” in America. With breathtaking views of the mountains and Bitterroot River as well as beautiful gardens and unique wildlife to watch.
They take pleasure in sharing their mountain, home, and Montana history with others from around the world. Meeting people from every walk of life is a real treat for them. Guests come for a variety of reasons including: visiting their kids at University of Montana, fishing, relaxing between visits to Yellowstone and Glacier Park.
Guests have visited from every state but Delaware as well as the countries of Israel, Bolivia, Jacarta, Mongolia, Honduras, Namibia, South Korea, and Romania. One couple from France comes every year to enjoy Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast and the surrounding area. Seeing how people with very different view points are able to come together, share breakfast, and take away an appreciation for each other is one of the biggest surprises Brady and Elaine have discovered as innkeepers.
Elaine, who takes professional pictures, says she has always adored taking pictures because of her deep love and connection with nature. The animals that can be found outside their B&B include: woodpeckers, humming birds, hawks, eagles, bears, bunnies, deer, wild turkeys, elk, chipmunks, and much more.
Because of her background in history and education, Elaine was able to take more classes (including classes specifically oriented toward the bi-centennial of Lewis and Clark) to become an official tour guide. There are so many gorgeous walking trails in their area.
Blue Mountain B&B is open year round and guests can stay for just one night if that is their desire. Some choose to have one night escapes from Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, and other places. There are fun things to do all year long in Missoula. The benefit of their particular location is that they are close to town, yet it is so private. Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is on twenty acres of registered wildlife habitat next to National and State forest land. The home was designed by their family and the room decor reflects their Swedish family heritage as well as their ranching backgrounds.
Their most loved breakfast dishes include their asparagus gratins, macadamia-crusted French toast, and Aebelskivers (a Dutch stove top doughnut). Brady and Elaine would love to have others come to enjoy the beauty of nature, do fun area activities and/or just relax, and taste their delicious breakfasts as well as share their unique life experiences!
Written by Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging
Making Aeblskivers with Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast:
A Sweet Treat from the Vikings!
Winter is one of my favorite seasons because it brings a sense of peace and quiet to the world. I love the way the snow gleams in both daylight and moonlight, covering the garden and pond at the B&B in a sleepy wonderland of mystery and beauty.
I dream about Christmas and all that it brings:
The winter holidays are about celebrating traditions and miracles of many kinds. In our home, this means bringing a touch of Scandinavia to the season:
Ringing in the Christmas season with Swedish sleigh bells, passed down through the generations:
Awaking to the lovely aroma of Scandinavian-American breakfast delights:
One of the most beautiful things about the holiday season is sharing that special joy we feel with others.
So this year, from our home to yours…
Please enjoy these delightful Danish Aebelskiver recipes!
Note: Before you can truly enjoy an Aebelskiver, you have to know a bit about its background!
*Origins of this delightful, Danish delicacy:
Aebelskivers are believed to have been around before the 1600’s. Traditionally, they were cooked with pieces of apple (aeble) in the center or applesauce, hence the name. This is not as common in modern Danish cooking, however.
These unique pancakes are often made at Christmas time and served with glogg, which is a Scandinavian mulled wine. They are not so much a breakfast food, but a treat to be enjoyed later in the day or on a special occasion.
In American, you can find these unique pancakes in Solvang, California which was founded as a Danish colony in 1911. This darling town continues to share its Danish heritage with others and several popular restaurants serve Aebelskivers. One of my favorite Aebelskiver-making videos was made in Solvang, so click and enjoy.
There is a fun legend associated with the invention of Aebelskivers that takes us back to Viking times. THE STORY: After a particularly difficult day in battle, a group of Viking warriors returned to their longboat very tired and hungry. For dinner, they mixed some flour and milk together, which they then cooked on their metal shields over a fire. Having just been through a harrowing battle, their shields had many dents in them. The batter pooled in these dented areas and formed the first Aebelskivers!
What in the heck is an Aebelskiver anyway?
Aebelskivers are about as difficult to explain as they are to pronounce, you really have to take a bite out of one to understand the concept! Many people in the U.S. are more familiar with the extremely thin, crepe-like Swedish pancakes that are rolled up and then filled. In comparison, this Danish version of pancakes must be made in a special pan, either cast iron or aluminum. You can sometimes find aebelskiver pans in specialty shops or on line. We found ours at Costco of all places! Aebelskivers have the heaviness of a pancake, but the lightness of a popover. They are a bit like a cross between a doughnut and a pancake. Round, light and airy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, they remind me a bit of a German puff pancake.
Materials needed: 1-3 Aebelskiver pans, hand electric mixer for egg whites, basting brush, nutmeg grinder, mixing bowls, measuring cups, spoons, spatula, turning utensil (skewer, chopstick, fork, etc.), pastry filling bag (optional)
Making the batter: These fun “pancakes” allow for a lot of creativity and you can make them to fit your personal taste. The batter fits perfectly with savory fillings such as meats or even vegetables as well as cheese, fruit or chocolate. Here are some great recipes and filling ideas. Click on the following link for some additional images of aebelskivers!
3 eggs (separated)
2 T sugar
2 C. buttermilk (or 2 T vinegar mixed with milk to make 2 C.) Using buttermilk makes the batter thicker, so we prefer using vinegar and milk.
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Some recipes include cardamon and lemon zest as well.
*Melted butter (dribbled into the Aebelskiver pan holes before adding the batter)
Filling for Batter (option #1):
-Thin slices of apple, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Thin slices of Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch squares
Filling for Batter (option #2):
-Cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
-A spoonful of cherry or other tart-tasting jam
Filling for Batter (option #3):
-Half pound of minced bacon
-One medium onion, minced
-Pan fry together until bacon begins to crisp. Drain and add salt and pepper to taste.
Mixing and Cooking the Batter:
Mix egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a small dish. Next, mix flour, soda and baking powder together. Whisk flour mixture, egg yolks and buttermilk together in alternating amounts until all are incorporated. Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into rest of batter. When your Aebelskiver pan is hot, brush each indentation with butter, waiting for it to sizzle before adding the batter. The stove burner should be on medium heat so they don’t scorch. Each batch will take about 3 minutes to completely cook. Traditionally, they were turned with a knitting needle, but you can use a skewer, fork or chopstick as well.
For unfilled Aebleskivers: Fill indentations in the pan with batter, actually a bit above pan level. When the batter begins to brown, run a skewer around the edge and then lift one side a quarter turn (like the picture below). Let the batter set up and begin to brown. Turn them again, so they are almost completely rolled over, domed and golden brown on top. Turn them several more times (every 15 seconds until the batter has formed them into complete spheres and all sides are nice and brown). Use skewers to remove each ball from the pan and dust with powered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).
For filled Aebleskivers: Fill holes in pan about 2/3 with batter, then put in your choice of fillings (recipes below). Use a spoon or pastry bag to fill them. Spoon additional batter on top until batter is just above the rim of each indentation. After the batter has sat in the pan for about a minute and is starting to brown, run your skewer around the edges. Use both skewers to help you flip them completely over. Cook until they are browned on the other side (another minute or so), then remove with skewers and repeat with a new batch. Lift Aebleskivers out of pan and dust with powdered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).
Cooking another batch? Make sure you butter the pan after cooking each batch so the dough doesn’t stick!
Final Touches: After a batch of Aebelskivers is finished, it is usually topped with something special. A simple sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dab of whipped cream is always good. In addition, Aebelskivers are delicious when served with jam or syrup- raspberry, blackberry and Swedish lingonberry being the most common. If you really want to go for decadence, then serve them with the bourbon-caramel sauce, below!
Caramel Sauce Recipe:
1 stick of butter
2/3 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. whipping cream
2 T. bourbon or whiskey
The recipe we use most often for guests include filling option #1, accompanied by the above caramel recipe. These are also the recipes Brady used during his 2013 cooking demonstration at the Western Montana Fair (Culinary Arts Building). We hope you will enjoy trying these recipes in your own home! Who knows, maybe you will even be inspired to try some new Aebelskiver creations. Click on the following link for additional batter and filling ideas, as well as where to purchase an Aebelskiver pan!
If you’d rather just relax and have someone else fix you breakfast, think about booking a stay with us here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast. It is the perfect time of year for a mini winter wonderland vacation, so indulge a bit and enjoy! If you are looking for a perfect gift for someone, you are welcome to visit our little store. We have many Scandinavian items as well as plenty of local, Montana treasures.
August 1, 2013
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!
*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.
*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.
*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!
An INNside View!
Seasons and Seasonings at Blue Mountain B&B:
With summer almost in full swing, it’s fun to think back on the various seasons and what each one brings to Montana and to Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast. I never tire of the beautiful seasonal changes that western Montana offers to residents and visitors alike. Sometimes the changes are quite subtle, which has been the case this year with our transition from spring to summer. Luckily, summer has crept upon us with a refreshing coolness. The mountains and valleys are still green, the peaks are capped in white and the wildflowers are particularly lovely. The rain has definitely been welcome and we hope it will continue from time to time in the next months so that the fire season doesn’t hit with such a bang.
*At the Inn:
Here at Blue Mountain B&B, the changing seasons bring delightful new views as well as new specialties to the table. During the gardening months, fresh varieties of fruits and vegetables abound. We take great care in preserving the bounty that the summer brings so that guests are able to enjoy fresh flavors throughout the winter months as well. Some of our jam and jelly specialties include home made huckleberry-raspberry, apricot and red current. Both of our sets of parents live on Blue Mountain as well and between the bunch of us we are able to grow a lot of the fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables ourselves.
If we can’t grow something at the B&B, then we often turn to Missoula’s Good Food Store and the local Clark Fork and Missoula Farmer’s Markets. We especially love the fruit from Forbidden Fruit Orchard, the huckleberries which some of the Hmong families pick and the Dixon Melons.
As guests, you can enjoy both a Saturday morning market and and evening market during the warmer months of the year with vendors selling all kinds of things from produce and cheese to jewelry. When the weather turns cold, Missoula takes it’s wares inside where people can enjoy a winter market on the weekends. If you are interested in finding huckleberry or other Montana products, we have a lot to offer in our little Wood Ducks and More Country Store. If you are looking for Montana made products in town, we recommend the following stores: Brown Bear Resources and Mother Moose.
Views from every room at the inn celebrate the changing of the seasons as each day brings a little something different than the next. Even when the valley is fogged in, one has the sensation of being in a high mountain castle. The views from our dining and living room areas are like a living picture frame, ever changing and beautiful. During late spring, summer and early fall, the sound of the water fall accompanies views of the valley and the smell of a fresh, gourmet breakfast.
For me, winter brings the most wonderful feast for the eyes of any season. There is nothing more beautiful than a soft dusting of snow covering the garden walls while the pond is bathed in the moon’s lovely light. Then again, “summer’s snow” is just as spectacular when the lovely Syringa bushes blanket the hillsides in late June. Their white, fragrant petals attract Swallowtail butterflies and for a couple of weeks, the hills truly smell heavenly. June is truly a wonderful month to make a reservation specifically for The Syringa Suite, our room named after this fragrant flower. The Syringa Suite has a private deck that adjoins the hillside, offering spectacular views of this flowering shrub as well as the water fall and koi pond below.
Maintaining the house and grounds offer both Brady and me a change of scenery every single day. The winter months involve quite a lot of driveway plowing which is one of Brady’s (and the dogs’) favorite activities. He also loves any work that involves a mile-high view and a ladder. At least it makes cleaning out the rain gutters and putting up new outdoor blinds interesting. When our Godson or other family friends help out, it’s always fun to see how work starts to unfold into play! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of sweat and “blood” that goes into creating new flower beds, pulling weeds and doing other odd jobs. This year, in particular, we have re-done a lot of our flower beds and are trying to find deer hardy alternatives to some of the more tasty plants. The work always seems worthwhile and truly enjoyable, especially when we treat ourselves afterward. After a big day of work, we sometimes splurge by taking a couple of swings on the hammock, dipping our feet in the pond or enjoying some huckleberry iced tea- things usually reserved for our guests.
Missoula has quite a few local nurseries that are really helpful when trying to find plants that are compatible with climate needs and personal tastes. When looking for annuals, Caras, Earth and Wood, Marchies and Ibey are always helpful. Most of our perennials, along with our hanging pots, come from Benson’s Farms and Pink Grizzly which are part of the fun River Road Neighborhood.
While the summer involves planting and the winter plowing, spring and fall both involve a lot of ponderosa pine needle raking- one of my favorite activities. It’s something that always calls for a hot dog roast if the weather cooperates and fire season is nowhere near. If you’ve ever burned pine needles, it is actually quite mesmerizing. The needles glow a beautiful red and then gradually disintegrate into nothingness. The best part is that wonderful forest smell that allows me to “go camping” in my very own back yard!
*Plan your Montana get-away:
No matter when you come to Blue Mountain Bed & Breakfast you are in for a treat. Every season offers its own spectacular kind of beauty which both energizes and calms the mind, body and soul. Whether you come for the winter skiing, a hike through the endless spring flowers, a summer float down a river, or an autumn ghost town tour, you will find beauty and fun wherever you go. You are always welcome to call us for additional details (1-406-251-4457) or visit the Area Page on our website for a listing of Missoula events and activities. There is nothing we enjoy more than helping people plan the perfect Missoula, Montana get-away no matter what time of year it may be! You are welcome to follow us on Facebook where we post recipes as well as upcoming history, cultural and community events. Come join us one way or another for a one of a kind Blue Mountain experience!