Better Late Than Never


July 2016 – Toadlet. I am not sure if this is correct scientific nomenclature for the wee toads I’ve been seeing, but I certainly like the ring of it. It perfectly fits the thumb-sized creatures that are spitting images of fully grown palm-sized adults. For a week now, whenever I’ve detected movement in the grass out of the corner of my eye it has turned out to be a toadlet, hopping nonchalantly through dry grass and dirt. I want to put them all in my garden to help keep the leaf-hopper population at bay. They would be right at home with the bull snake, another welcome garden denizen that keeps the pocket gopher population in check. On Friday, I found the bull snake ensnarled in the bird netting that covers our strawberry patch. At first I thought he was dead, but as I cut loose the netting from his body, it began writhing and he even gave me his rendition of rattlesnake tail wagging, though his head was so tied up that he couldn’t make the vocalization to make it sound like rattles. I cut his head free last, and cautiously placed him in the shade to recover from the trauma.

Can you spot the woodhouse toad in the photo below? img_5311

November 2016 – The garden was hit or miss this summer- the cucumbers refused to flourish, but three types of peppers made up for that shortcoming. Root vegetables also did well despite the heat. Luckily, my mom arrived in August to help trim and store an abundance of onions, and to can pickled beets and cucumbers img_5334


We had many visitors this summer – Pippi and her kids returned for a third year of ranch camp, and helped me pick a 5 gallons of choke cherries. We cleaned and stemmed them together, and then I cooked them down to make syrup. We got just 2 pints of syrup from all those berries! Another Teton Science School grad, Katie, visited us later in August just in time to celebrate Bart’s birthday and our one year anniversary of life in the cabin at Coulee Creek. The only downside to a simple life off the grid? We’ve chosen not to have internet at home, which makes my blog posts few and far between! So here is to summer, now long past, but whose memories will always last!






Published by Heather Bilden

I live in Montana with my husband Bart. I enjoy working in the garden, taking care of the animals, and exploring the prairie with my dogs, my binoculars, and a reverence for the natural world.

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