Trying to be Spring up in western Montana

I’m trying to feel the wondrous rebirth that comes with Springtime right now. I want the warm sun to beat down on my bare skin for more than just a few hours at a time. I want to trust that warmth and know it won’t leave me tomorrow. I want to give in to complete surrender, believing I can, for sure, without any doubt, leave for a walk in the forest and not have to bring my jacket.

That I won’t regret my jacket-less decision when I’m too far from home base and a gust of wind with a taste of winter lingering inside of her whips up and I shiver.

And we had a hint of that type of day yesterday but there is still just a teensy bit too much snow on the ground in places where I walk so I brought my jacket. At points I got to tie it around my waist and let my arms enjoy what warmth there was so at least its a start.

Still a bit of snow out there for Ike & Jazzy.

And we have a house guest right now who absolutely LOVES the snow so I guess its not all that bad.

Jazz Champion is staying with us again while her rodeo rock star of a daddy gets bucked around on saddle-less horses and her Olympic figure skater Mummy cheers him on. She stayed with us last fall after a bit of snow and she loved the squishy, soft, cold white stuff that she had never seen before.

Now she loves the goofy, lovey, super fast buddy named Ike who she had never met before!

Coming off of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day with the feline Fyfe kingdom recently, watching Ike and Jazz play with each other at warp speed has been like a salve for my soul.

They run. They jump. They crash into each other. They crash into us less and less. They run off but they always come back.

They seem the absolute best of friends!

Walks out back with Dad/Uncle Alistair

Alistair would take them way out back into the trees for long hikes on days I was veterinarian-ing in Deer Lodge. Ike and Jazz would “help” with the plethora of chores that Alistair does that are never-ending when you have a farm (and a bunch of big toys to use on said farm!)

“I’m an excellent driver, Mummy!”

They run around so much that often when its time for our Aloha hot tub/cocktail hour, the two of them just lay on the deck or on top of a nearby pile of snow.

Alistair drove to Bismarck last week and the dogs won’t leave my side. It is cute and endearing but also awkward trying to walk with 60 pounds of dog attached to both of my legs. After a few minutes they eventually take off and leap, run, bark and play together but they keep returning to me as if they are checking on me.

Or protecting me.

Either way.

It has been good for me.

D’embe and Professor Higgins a couple of mornings ago

Also good for me are the remaining cats, two of whom reside primarily outside. D’embe and Higgins have both sent in their applications for Indoor status but D’embe and Jockey do NOT get along. Plus, it really isn’t all that bad being a Fyfe “barn cat”. They get top notch Royal Canin kibble which is supplemented with a shared can of moist food every single day and there are a few cat beds to choose from in the nice “barn” they get locked into every night.

Clearly, they aren’t starving.


I’m down to Jockey and the Bee Gees for room-mates but even that is okay because Jockey has taken over the role of Couch Time companion every evening after the ferrets get put away. Jockey was always a lover but Sport took over the couch (and my lap) after Loki died a few years ago and I wasn’t sure if Jockey even knew there was a position on the couch at night (and in my lap.)

He purrs on the couch and he purrs in bed when he lays right next to me every night.

Exactly where Sport used to lay.

Jockey isn’t just all about me, though. Alistair is the one who first brought our big red-head into the house back in Bismarck years ago. They go back to when Alistair broke his pelvis in 2012 so Jockey still enjoys time with his Dad when he is here, too.

A different couch- this one is behind my computer chair where I write.

We are hopeful that the snow will continue to disappear on our march through April (see what I did just there?) because, you know…. golf.

Some courses are open. Alistair has been playing Painted Woods in North Dakota since last month and we got out together on a particularly sunshiny day in Missoula a couple of weeks ago!

It was so good for my heart and my brain and even though we only played the front 9 it felt incredible. And I didn’t suck! We both made par once and we even found a couple of balls. (We also got me stocked up with red wine, which is another integral component to keeping a smile on my face.)

Back in my happy place (with Mulder and Jinxie!) at Canyon River golf course.

Alistair joined me in setting up ‘For Sale’ signs at my fabulous off-grid listing north of Seeley Lake last week and it was a beautiful day of sunshine and mountain views. We are definitely enjoying more and more of these blue-sky days so even though the sky outside the window to my right is grey and a little bit dark I still have hope that Spring will turn warm and I can finally trust the sunshine to stick around again.

Realtor’s helper!

And yesterday morning the highs soared yet again for another of my career paths when I received an email announcing that my fourth book, The Runaways of Missing Lake, won its third award! Book 4, like book 3, is now a Distinguished Favorite in Teen Fiction for the Independent Press Awards! While my eyes have burned from too many tears lately the ones that crept in yesterday morning were joyful ones that threatened to slip down my laugh lines and into my dimples.

No prize money.

No guarantee of fame & fortune.

Just more stickers and hey, that’s cool, too.

This baby gets a third sticker soon!

So even while I choked up telling a friend about Sport and Bebe yesterday I know I am going to be okay. It actually caught me a little off guard because I have been able to talk about that misery-filled morning without losing it but that’s fine. I’m doing fine. We are all allowed to feel for our loved ones when we aren’t expecting to have to hold those feelings in check.

And I feel loved.

The outpouring of sympathy and concern from so many friends and family on social media when I shared my last blog post continues to hug my heart. So many veterinary classmates wrote about Sport and how sad they were that their unique classmate was no longer with me in a physical sense.

And I feel the love from everyone when they share my joy with the books and the awards. I want to bring you all along on this journey with me! Climb aboard! Lets see where this all can go!

All the feels!!!!!!

With what is remaining of today’s daylight I had better head outside to get semi-mauled by very adoring dogs so they can get more exercise today.

I’ve worked my veterinary, real estate and now writing careers today and my brain feels kind of full. In a very good way, of course because we are all together sharing in the beginning of Spring (and more vaccines in arms, People, please!)

I’m still going to wear my jacket.

5074, Beaver Creek Road… I’m just saying…
Barry, Andy & Maurice are always making me smile!
Yesterday with the barn kitties.
Being more than just fine.

5 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. Mary Beth Balzart

    Enjoy reading your blog. Sorry you went through such sadness losing Botha cats in the same day. Still missing my Mr Kitty. 🥺.

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