The Dinnerbell

Today we visited with Phyl’s grandson Chris and his two kids,
went back to the quilt shop to buy one of their kits,
and shortened some curtains (yay, sewing!)
For dinner, we went the The Dinnerbell, a Thursday night all-you-can-eat family-style dinner served by a local Mennonite family in Gold Creek, Montana.
We got there early and shopped a bitbefore sitting down at long tables.
Tonight: 70 pounds silky-smooth mashed potatoes, 120 pounds fried chicken, and about 30 pies, plus salad and fresh rolls.
At the end, a very nicely-sung hymn. What a wonderful Montana experience!

Arrrow Stone Park and Grant-Kohrs Ranch

Phyl and I walked the paths of Arrow Stone Park.

It winds around all the way to the Old Montana Prison along the Clark Fork River.

We walked every path for a total of 2 miles.

There would be more walking at our afternoon stop: Grant Kohrs Ranch, a National Historic Site.The ranch tells the story of the transition from open-range cattle industry of the 1860s to a more scientific approach (and the beginning of barbed wire fencing and growing your own alfalfa) in the 1890s.
We toured the house, but couldn’t take any pictures. There are no reproductions in the house, only original artifacts (with many thousands more stored in a barn on the property).
We began our exploration just after 2 busloads of Australians and Canadians were almost ready to leave. A cowboy poses for a tourist:


In the garden at the back of the house:

Philipsburg and Lemon Drops

We drove to Phillipsburg today, about 50 miles from Deer Lodge. Cute town with some really good shops.At several shops, you can buy bags of dirt/gravel/rock and go “screening” – sifting and washing hoping to find precious stones like Montana sapphires.A must stop is The Sweet Palace where you can find every imaginable candy you can think of and then some. Samples of their famous fudge – you choose the flavor – are given out at the register.After we got back to Deer Lodge, Phyl and I went on a walk. The pond on their property, where ducks land and muskrats play:Dee owns the 80 acres which surrounds Dave & Phyl’s place. She has 20 horses.Walking back along the road toward their house:Phyl made the best Lemon Drop Martinis …well … maybe they could have used a bit more sugar:

Exploring Deer Lodge

So, it’s June but it’s freaking cold here. It SNOWED today! as Phyl and I visited the Old Montana State Prison.
Established in 1871, it closed in 1979.Then we visited a couple of museums on the other side of the street, explored Keystone Drugstore which is so much more than one would expect, discovered a great quilt shop, and had lunch at 4B’s.

Rosemary Foccacia in Deer Lodge MT

Yesterday I flew from Sacramento to Butte Montana to visit Dave & Phyl who moved here last April. Today Phyl and I went for a drive.The Montana State Prison is the biggest local employer.This is where Phyl and Dave’s grandson, Chris, works.Looking back toward the town of Deer Lodge:In the afternoon, we baked bread – Rosemary Foccacia. Phyl started the biga yesterday. Today it took another 3 hours to finish the process.This bread is unbelievably delicious!In the evening we went to the movies. Note the days the theater is open, and it’s operated solely by volunteers.The guy in the booth was funny. After we entered the theater, he came out the back door to talk to me, wondering why I was taking pictures (Was I an inspector?). He told me the theater used to seat 800 people, but there was a fire in 2006. When the theater was rebuilt, they extended the seat length so now there are 300 seats downstairs and 200 seats upstairs.