Why I Love Living in Montana: #2

June 18 2005 014I am simply entranced by the smell of Douglas Fir trees on a summer morning.

On these mornings, the wind always picks up as the sun begins peeking over Columbia Mountain.  I emailed Mark Heyka, our awesome local-ish meteorologist (local-ish because he is based two hours south in Missoula, but is responsible for all of western Montana) to ask why this was–I assumed it had something to with cold air/warm air, etc.

This was his response:


Whenever the sun rises, it starts warming the surface air.  When air is warmed, it becomes lighter, or buoyant.  Warmer air rises, and this starts circulations in the atmosphere and wind can be the result.
Thanks for watching First Alert Weather!

Mark Heyka
Chief Meteorologist
NBC Montana

(Another reason I love Montana–my meteorologist emails me back the SAME day!)  So there you have it.

Anyway, nothing can compare to that sweet, piney, warm smell of Doug Firs carried on that breeze.  You have to catch it at just the right time though…in the mornings, on abnormally warm nights, when you camp in the middle of forest…it is amazing.  I remark about it every time I smell it, because it is so heavenly.

All places have their uniques scent.  I appreciate the humid, decomposing smell of Florida, the red clay smell of South Carolina, and the fresh but slightly fishy smell of Lake Michigan.  But nothing, nothing! compares to the smell of Douglas Fir trees in Montana on a warming summer morning.

What does your favorite outdoor place smell like?

What I’m Knitting Today

What I'm Knitting Today

I have been really annoyed by the way my winter hats “creep up” my head as I wear them, leaving my ears exposed. So, before I start into my next round of “stuff for other people”, I decided to make myself an earflap hat.

I am knitting on 10s, using this pattern.

The yarn is Sensations Angel-Hair, colorway blue.


Corrugated Washcloth

Corrugated Washcloth

I love knitting washcloths. It gives me the chance to try new stitches. I actually made this one for myself, which is unusual. It is a simple corrugated pattern, so it knit up quickly and somewhat mindlessly–I like to have at least one mindless project going at all times. It is perfect for waiting rooms, karate classes, staff meetings, etc. It keeps my hands busy and I don’t even have to really look at what I’m doing.

Cast on 40 stitches on a size seven needle, purl 1 row, knit 2 rows, repeat.

Click here for a link to a corrugated cloth pattern.

Why I Love Living in Montana #1

I have been working on a post of reasons I love Montana for a while, but decided instead to try it one by one–as they came to me–rather than trying to compile them all into a list or two or three.

So here is NUMERUS UNUS:

I love living in Montana, because wherever you seem to go, you meet someone who knows someone you know.  It isn’t even six degrees…it is two or three at best.  It is the nation’s biggest small town.  Everyone knows everyone.

Today, while at my acupuncturist’s office, we realized that she was married to a man who shared a house for a time with one of my very dearest friends from Michigan.

These types of connections happen all the time.  My husband works with a woman who is friends with the couple who used to live across the street.   That couple rented their house to a man who is friends with my acupuncturist.

These “threads” (to borrow a word from my acupuncturist) may seem likely in a small town, but they also happen throughout the state.  The entire state of Montana is just a giant neighborhood.  I love the fact that I can contact the president of the MEA-MFT and will usually get a personal response in an hour or less.  I would never have been the one selected to go to Washington DC with other new National Board Certified teachers had I lived in another state.

I love that our mayor was the one we hired to do site prep for our garage, and that his daughter was my son’s fourth grade teacher.  She lives in a house built by the man who put the second story on our house.

When we go to a party, there are usually a few moments of “oh!  I didn’t know you knew so-and-so, too!”

One of my favorite discoveries concerned a woman I was acquaintances with back in high school.  Her husband lived across the street from my best friend when we were growing up and our mothers worked at the same insurance agency–all back in Michigan.  Once Facebook really got rolling, I realized that Aimee and John lived just two hours south of us (which is the equivalent, more or less, of living on opposites sides of the same neighborhood, as John and I did as kids).  Four Michigan transplants (my husband, me, John and Aimee)–four Forest Hills Central High School classmates–living a stone’s throw away from one another in Montana.  I love that.

There are so many more examples that simply aren’t coming to mind right now–I think I am still in meditation mode from my appointment earlier.   And while maybe this isn’t that remarkable to other people, it just wasn’t something that happened often in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The “threads” weaving from one person to another provide me with a sense of belonging–that I am an important part of the web of human beings who populate this beautiful place.  And that is a reason I love living in Montana.

Oh…and this:


This is a good reason, too.