Saturday, October 26, 2013

Squirrels and Helena

Things have been a bit squirrelly around here lately.

No, literally.

Emma's Squirral (7)
Photo by Emma the Naturalist

Emma loves the squirrel(s). I'm not sure if we have more than one, or just the one. Either way, she is smitten with them. Always wants to pick up food for them when we are out and about. She asked today if she could put the food (a few random sunflower seeds that she had already spread on the ground) into a container for him. 

I love it. 

I was chatting with Gramma on the phone while Emma was filming this video. 

The entire video is almost 3 minutes, but this is my favorite part. You can tell the squirrel is agitated by how fast his tail is moving, but in this bit, he actually shakes the stick at Emma. 

Even though she is inside watching him through the glass. 

What else. The last two weekends we have made trips down to Helena. We would all be happy to move there and live the rest of our lives. 

They have a bike skills park in progress. The only finished part is the pump track. 

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (3)
Jared having fun.

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That was me trying it out after Jared had been riding for a while. 
My form is terrible, but my outfit? Total awesomeness. 

I was wearing a floor length skirt over some black thermals, so I just hiked up my skirt and tied it in place. Such a trendsetter, I know. 

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All three of us. 

Emma, of course, had a blast climbing all over the entire track. 

Why else do we love Helena?

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Just about every street ends in single track (hiking/biking trails)

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They have the Painted Pot

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There is a carousal! 

And that was all discovered on the first trip!

It's also relatively small, the town is bike friendly, and they have a few different organic grocery stores. What did we discover on our second trip?

Well first of all, we found out that Jared has so much more fun when riding with friends.


He and two other guys rode 26 miles in 5 hours, with about 4200' of elevation climb. That's a lot of miles and a lot of hills! Emma and I discovered that the trail he has ridden both times is an uphill battle from the get-go. 

Following the leader

We only hiked for about 30 minutes because we had lots of plans for in town. The first one being, Art

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Sculpture by Jay Laber at the Holter Museum of Art 

Now, I knew we would be visiting this museum, and I love the idea of sitting in an art museum sketching the art, so I always have the thought in the back of my mind that if we ever visit an art museum we should bring our sketch books. And lucky me, I actually remembered to grab them out of the truck and take them in with us. Good thing because as soon as Emma saw this, she asked, "Can I sketch it?"

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I have to say, I LOVED all the time we spent in that room. I thought about sketching something right along with her, but I was so in love with watching her sketch, that I just sat and watched her the entire time. 

Actually, I felt like maybe she thought I was pressuring her to hurry up, so a few times I got up and walked around to check out the other sculptures. 

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Creepy but awesome at the same time. 

I know watching their kid sketch a horse made out of junk metal isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me, it's so worth it. 

Muesum of Art sketching
Emma's sketch of "Granny's Shabby Pony" by Jay Laber

After we finished up at the art museum, we were hungry. So, we stopped at the organic grocery store that we discovered accidentally on our first trip down when I got lost. We had lunch, stocked up on gluten free jerky, then headed back downtown. We stopped, on a whim, at a used book shop, bought a bunch of books for Emma, then got directions to 3 other places that sell used books. 

One happened to be some guy's house. I thought that a bit odd, but we are really wanting to find some of the books in the series that Emma's working through. This is what awaited us...

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Those were all the kids books.

So, we proceeded to look through all of them. It took a while. And the guy smoked cigars in his house (though I don't think he had while we were there). We made a decent stack of books we wanted to take home with us

Book Hoarders Bookstore
(there are actually 11, one was hidden and I didn't realize it)

but there were no prices. We were prepared to thin out the pile at the "check-out," (a desk hidden behind piles of books) if needed. 

After pretending to do calculations in his head, he charged us... $3. Three. Whole. Dollars. When I tried to give him a five and told him to keep it, he let me know that would screw up his bookkeeping. As he handed back my change, he let me in on his master plan, "It's like being a drug dealer. Get 'em hooked young and you've got a customer for life." 

We have already decided that his place will be a stop we make each time we visit Helena. Yes the books smell like cigar smoke, but a few days spread out in the shed seems to have fixed that problem. 

If only we could do something about the fact that Helena is 90 minutes away on a day with no snow...


  1. This whole thing was great to read. Made me wish I was with you. I am sure I'd like Helena in general; the bookstore & owner's attitude specifically. ENJOY whenever possible! Love, G/M


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