The Pants Situation (and a PANTS GIVEAWAY!)


Sharing a wonderful story from a wonderful young woman who we got to watch grow up a few years when we all lived in Watford City together. I will attest to her mother’s wonderful sense of style and the girls’ penchant for all-things-horsey. This is her beautiful blog and a great story to tell.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you considering you’ve heard about my mother, the lady who owns a clothing store in my hometown, that in my life I have always been very aware of “the outfit.”


I mean, this woman was raised in a family of four girls and then went on to raise three herself, so it goes without saying that there have been countless hours spent filling and flinging clothes to and from closets, discussing what to wear for Christmas, for Thanksgiving, for a date, to a concert, to a wedding, to my wedding, to your wedding, to the beach, to the bar, to a baptism and everything in between.

There have been arguments and tantrums over denim skirts and borrowed shoes, a great deal of philosophy spent on the concept of accessories and where to get the right purse and plenty of time wondering why the hell…

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Anyone seen UB?


UB Fyfe… surveying the farm

UB Fyfe.

UB Pickles Napolean Jumping Jack Flash Moves Like Jagger Savard-Spinorama Tight Buns Fyfe.

This little guy is a character.

UB joined our family about 5 years ago.

UB New

Just a little fella back then!

The economy had tanked, our town had few jobs and the young couple who owned him just turfed him onto the street when they packed up and moved to Missoula.

He had been born in Seattle and a sister of the “breeder” took him and brought him here.

Then they ditched him.

He found his way to the local animal rescue/shelter that was located in our town back then.

They brought him to my clinic where I thought he was the most peculiar looking little guy! His outstanding underbite is hard to miss but his big dark brown eyes just envelope you and you can’t help but fall in love. The day I neutered him was a slow day and he sat on my lap most of the afternoon. We bonded.

UB ears

Coming in for landing… air traffic control….

I told Alistair about him and we did that “what’s 5 dogs when you have 4” thing but we still weren’t sure. Until a bit of a farm tragedy occurred.


Our beloved Hissy Phitt

2 young mountain lions were wrecking havoc on our neighborhood and in the space of 2 days we lost 2 of our special barn kitties, Hissy Phitt and little Jinxie. We were both pretty devastated but then we remembered that the cute little black dog with the underbite was still at the shelter.


Jinxie in one of her many hiding places in the back of my vet truck

We got him that afternoon.

It didn’t bring my cuddly kitties back but UB went a long way towards filling that gap and now he’s practically taken over both of our hearts.

Granted, the first thing he did inside the house was take an enormous dump in our living room but, for the most part, he has fit in just fine.

That’s not to say he isn’t mischievous or sometimes a bit naughty but its so hard to stay mad at him for very long.


C’mon… just look at those eyes!

There was no other name that suited him besides UB (‘you be’). For his underbite.

And its easy to do his voice- just jut your lower jaw out, get a serious look on your face, sound authoritative and you’ve nailed it!

UB is in charge of the forest behind us which is why we are often saying, “Anyone seen UB?”

This statement is usually followed by the silent realization by both of us that the other 4 dogs are around and UB is nowhere to be seen.


UB loves his ‘smoking jacket’ and riding shotgun in our Ranger, “Steve”

One time we came around the front of the house to look and we were captivated by a large herd of elk running the entire width of our field.

But then we saw that half the herd was held back.

Then they would run to join the others. It was quite the spectacle.

Until we saw the little black dot in the midst of everything… like he was directing traffic.

“YOU, elk… run that way. FAST.”
“YOU, elk, stand back and wait.”
“Ok, now you can go but run FAST….. oh, wait, is that my Mummy calling?”


UB and Mummy…. post bobcat experience

Another time he disappeared we heard him shriek in the trees and then yelp… while moving very quickly.

It was a strange sound… a moving sound… a frantic sound.

About 30 minutes later he came home, tail between his legs, limping, with a wound the shape of a paw on his side.


Kind of hard to see but the poor guy definitely got swatted!

I’m sure he pissed off some sleeping bobcat probably trying to lick his ear hair like he does to Mouse and Mulder. Oscar used to let him suck on his pointy little ears but now UB has to be creative. And careful!

The worst trouble he got himself (and Daddy) into was when he was still pretty new and was out back barking. Barking and barking. And barking some more.


“I’m pretty dashing, aren’t I?”

Alistair (in flip flops) went out to see if there was a poor squirrel or porcupine trapped by our ferocious hunter.

He froze when he saw the enormous grizzly bear standing 2 feet from our barking boy, just staring at him.

Enter growling, hissing, spitting, frothing, hackles-up, who-the-Hell-are-you-never-seen-this-kind-of-aggression-from-you Casey and that’s when the bear looked up.

At Alistair.

Without bear spray.

In flip flops.

The bear stood up and Alistair thought, “This could be bad.”


“Did I do something wrong?”

Maybe the bear wasn’t up to a confrontation with the rabid-looking Labrador and the annoying little barking thing.

Alistair and the bear both slowly backed away from the scene, which got UB’s attention.

UB, Casey and Harry (who was probably spinning circles a few feet away) were right behind Daddy when he felt it was safe to turn and run.

I’m sure in UB’s head that was just another grand adventure!

Another way to exercise and maintain those tight buns he’s so proud of.


Tight buns enable you to leap higher than a tall building in a single bound!

His voice pops into our heads as Spirit of UB no matter where we are.

If we’re on the treadmill its, “Come on, lets go, those buns aren’t going to tighten themselves!”
“You can do it, Mummy, run faster!”
“Come on, Daddy, my buns are still tighter! Do you want to see? C’mon, you can bounce a quarter off of these things!”


UB helping Mummy at work on Hallowe’en

If we’re outside with all of the other dogs its, “Is Casey really that stupid? He just walked into the tractor blade.”
“I know, I know, I’m not supposed to chase the cats but the rules change if they run away!”
“Can I chase those elk? No?”

On the golf course we hear, “Brilliant. Just brilliant. Do you want me to go get that?”
“That would have been awesome if you had actually hit the ball, Mummy!”


“10 and 2 in my Subaru, you dreadlocked, patchouli smelling, bra burning hippie!”

Or, lately, “Oh, GREAT… a SUBARU just drove by….”

With all of the miles Alistair and UB or Spirit of UB drive every month, they have figured out 2 things:

1. There are a staggering number of Subarus in the Missoula and Seeley Lake area; and,

2. Almost all of them are driving ridiculously slow. Leading a pack of semis and old trucks pulling boats and moving vans. Old Subaru is right out in front.

Once I started to pay attention, I realized there was some truth there.

So UB has started shouting out comments from the passenger seat.

“TREE HUGGER!” (this one is particularly hilarious if you’ve seen the recent Subaru commercial with the little girl…)


Discussing the merits of Subarus with my bar buddy, UB

UB appreciates that there are exceptions, like Aunty Dona.

But then Aunty Dona and Uncle Gary bought him this.


Somebody is SO impressed with his new bandana… thanks, Aunty Dona & Uncle Gary…. can’t wait to pee on your Subaru’s tires next time you’re here…

So that’s the story of our strange little mixed breed stray (DNA blood testing says he is a 50/50 mix of Boston Terrier and Cocker Spaniel. We’ve decided he is a Bostonocker Sperrier.)

Shelter dogs all have their own stories and they often make fabulous companions.

He adores everyone he meets, usually preferring humans to dogs if given the choice.


UB just basically helps himself to anyone’s lap, including Uncle Pete with Cleo right there for cuddles


Visiting Aunty Angel up in Canada this summer

He does take his job as Loki’s seeing eye dog very seriously and has been quite concerned about her injured left eye.

The eye is maybe starting to heal but her new heart murmur is a bit alarming and her probable zero thyroid is also something new.


UB, making sure Loki had someone to cuddle up to under the covers

Our merry band of misfits fits right in on the Fyfe Farm. They love and we love and its kind of like another Happiest Place on Earth.

With tight buns.

And grizzly bears.

And an underbite.

And a bizarre dislike of Subarus.

By the way… has anyone seen UB?


“Why drive a Subaru when you can drive a snowmobile? I’m an excellent driver, right, Daddy?”


To Every Thing


As the glowing yellow orb of warmth and joy starts hanging around less and less each day and a crisp coolness creeps into the air, I am amazed yet again with the realization that summer is over.


My neighborhood

There is frost on the ground one morning.

Then another.

And another.


Pretty fall colors on the golf course

The leaves that were green become red, yellow, and orange and each year I am struck by how short the summer seemed and how I didn’t get to do all of things I wanted to do.

We didn’t get out on the boat once this summer.

We didn’t take the canoe out to lounge on a peaceful lake while one of us reads and the other “fishes”.


Hard at work on the canoe

We haven’t hiked with the dogs because of Casey’s laryngeal paralysis and Alistair’s torn medial meniscus.

We haven’t explored the mountains surrounding us on horseback with Alistair’s knee and just the timing of things.

But, my goodness…

The things we did do.

There’s the book I completed and published and am now promoting.

I am in literary Heaven because people are enjoying the book.

books 2

My first book signing at the beautiful Holland Lake Lodge (photo by Gary Kyrouac)

I hear so many different things in peoples’ voices when they share their thoughts on the book.

Surprise, from friends and colleagues who have only known me as a veterinarian.

Warm, happy relief from friends who have known I’ve wanted to write for years.

Shock, at times, that a self-published author can actually string words together with correct grammar and punctuation. Words that can create emotions as they are read. Words that can take you places.

I am so freaking happy its not even funny.

Tan Stairs 1

Me. Freaking happy. (Photo by Gary Kyrouac)

I got to re-embrace the little community I live in this summer as so many people have thrown their support behind me even though I closed my veterinary clinic one full year ago. I removed a trustworthy place to have your concerns listened to, your animals cared for and your hands held and yet they continue to support me.


The old clinic days with a good buddy, Moses

From the folks on the golf course, the gang at the Double Arrow Lodge who let me and Gary have a PR photo session, to my friend at Good Times who helped dress me, the community of Ovando gearing up for a book event, staff at the Grizzly Claw for organizing their upcoming event and to Christian at Holland Lake Lodge for agreeing to host my very first book signing ever… the friendship and encouragement is overwhelming.

Portrait 5

Holland Lake Lodge’s beautiful main seating area… perfect for my first book signing.

This summer I have been able to share laughter and smiles with people who have read my book.

Or are going to read my book.

Or want me to sign their book.

Sign 1

Signing an as-yet-unread book for friends and former clients

I love hearing their thoughts about the future of the characters, their enjoyment of the relationships within and the particular moment they meet the character, Tabitha.

I won’t say any more about that, though. Its yours to explore.

Cindy, Lollie, Jessi, Lynn, Marty, Jackson, Merielle, Jill, Jill’s postman… what an adventure!


Alistair on the 16th tee

We got out to golf a lot this summer.

A lot.

It was easier on Alistair’s knee than hiking or riding horses and its just been so enjoyable watching our games change and slowly improve.


At Missoula’s Ranch Club golf course in the late summer sun

And I have bonded with our animal companions more than I could have imagined by having the time to be at home with them.


Cleopatra… bonding with Mummy

Amazingly, Casey is still with us.

The goofy, jumpy, wiggly, ridiculous, clumsy black Labrador with the unilateral floppy laryngeal fold had a couple of scares on really hot days where he wouldn’t settle down and everything was getting swollen and I could hear the fold flopping as he panted and he started turning blue.



Its not a color that makes veterinarians or Mummy’s very happy, I can assure you.


Casey… our good old boy enjoying a peaceful moment in the sun


The cooler weather is a welcome relief for our old goofy boy.

Maybe not if he slams into you or me or blind Loki with her bad eye but it is amazing that Casey is still here to be such a pain in the ass.

And Loki right now, with her really bad corneal ulcer.

I’ve been able to spend the time to help her.


Loki… SO not a fan of The Cone

I’m still not sure we’re going to save the eye but we’ve come this far and I’m going to keep trying.

Another special treat is that little Boomer is still with us.

Doing very well, in fact.


Got grass?

She is tolerating her twice-daily methimazole and has even put some of her weight back on.

Not a lot, but enough to make Mummy, Daddy and Boom Boom happy.

This summer took me back to Bismarck to help with the hay and get my dental crowns taken care of.

While the latter isn’t something to focus on, the hay-making was great.

Even with New Neighbor nearly dying from the effort.


Ahhh… those bales of summer

And now its time to talk about fall and the chilly mornings and the wood that needs to be cut and more book signings and starting a new book and keeping Loki’s eye and getting out to ride the horses and changing my golf attire just a tad.


Adaptable and still fashionable, making par on the 14th hole at the Double Arrow golf course!

We’ve got a little propane heater rigged up in Norman and we’re toasty warm on a golf course that seems abandoned now that the summer people have left.

One more bonus to the end of summer.

The weather changes bring some outstanding scenery both in Montana and North Dakota. As I’ve said before, I am a lucky woman to know both places.


North Dakota morning

So, goodbye Dear Summer and hello, Autumn.

An exciting month ahead where I will turn 42 and Alistair will turn a bit older than that and the golf course will be empty.

And some overdue Aloha.

Stay tuned for that one and think happy thoughts for Loki’s eyeball.

We think of her and Casey all of the time now with the addition of our golf buddies….


Loki-Head and Casey-Head, keeping Mummy’s clubs protected and happy


There’s always next summer.


Canoe-view of Lake Upsata