Tis the Season for Summer Fun Glacier Style

Whether you enjoy hiking, climbing, rafting or a good book in the shade, the season is upon us. The mosquitos have waned considerably, the late summer flowers like fireweed have just begun to bloom and we’ve been blessed with one relentlessly gorgeous day after another.

Husband has added to his fleet of exotic vehicles. Motel guests who once only enjoyed checking out the snow cat, can now also take a peek at the Bajaj. As you might imagine, Husband looks darned adorable busily tooling about town in the thing and, in my opinion, someone else is pretty cute in it, too.

Fun for the whole family.

A dozen or so phone calls to the reluctant ingredient supplier and Turnovers Are Back! Yum. If you haven’t tried Miss Mieka’s Huckleberry turnovers, hurry in to the Two Medicine Grill or Glacier Park Trading Company about mid-day on Wednesday or Saturday and get yourself one. They go fast and after eating one, I know why. (I had to have a second one just to confirm it was really that good.) The cream cheese compliments the huckleberries and the light yet crispy outside makes for a mighty fine treat.

The full bakery case does not stay that way for long . . .

Speaking of treats, all you southern transplants better head into the store and get your jar of pickled okra. Husband stocked a case but he and Merritt have been hitting them hard. She carries one in each hand and repeatedly says, “Treat, Treat.”

Merritt’s a southerner at heart–she can’t get enough pickled okra.

A couple of my favorite things in the store are also selling well. Both are hand-crafted by folks across the mountains in Whitefish and I’m thrilled to be selling them. Hurraw! Balms come in a vast array of flavors, are vegan and organic and also happen to be, hands down the best lip balms I’ve ever used. The folks at “Oprah Magazine” think so too and featured them as a “favorite thing.” It’s great fun to open a slick, nationally prominent magazine and see a Montana product featured.

Best lip balm ever.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Oprah and her people discover Sope. Also organic as well as locally sourced and sustainable Sope smells divine–Essentially Clove being a personal favorite. These fine folks also make a great Super Healing Salve and wonderful Arnica roll on pain reliever–great for the bumps and bruises and bug bites that come with time spent in the mountains.

Fantastic soap–the kind I feel good using on a couple of really dirty kids.

I could not be more grateful for our fantastic crew. The diner folks, clad in their new Two Medicine Grill shirts, make serving up table after table of delicious food look like a well orchestrated performance. The store crew is “on it” renting cars, making pizzas, handing out fudge samples and stocking groceries. Now with a full compliment of new mattresses, and thanks to our stellar room cleaners, the Whistling Swan Motel has never been better. Electra and Mieka’s baked creations continue to awe me.

Thanks to a storm last Friday that was predicted to be so severe–70 mile an hour winds, hail, flash flooding–that NOAA called Glacier Park dispatch to warn us all, we were reminded of how charmed life can be. Here’s hoping yours is too!

Living at the end of the rainbow…

Posted in Bakery, East Glacier Park Montana, Friends, Fudge, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Justin Bieber, Two Medicine Grill, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huckleberry Pie, Beargrass and a Brand Spanking New Motel Room–Must Be Summer

This past week we’ve had white stuff flying through the air once again, but this time it’s fluff from our cottonwood trees. It proved copious enough to drift a bit but didn’t require any shoveling.

Cottonwood seeds swirl and delight.

Husband continues to astound me. This past week he finish up Room #9 here at the Whistling Swan Motel.

As with pretty much all of his projects these days, he had help.

Dalton was at Husband’s side during every phase of construction.

The flower boxes are planted at The Whistling Swan, the Glacier Park Trading Company is chock full of gifts and groceries and books and yesterday, the Two Medicine Grill served up the first Huckleberry Pie to rave reviews. Its all butter, double crust and all huckleberry filling make it beyond yummy.  It joins coffee cake, bars, and fudge in our array of Huckleberry baked goods. The Huckleberry turnovers should return soon. Husband’s ironing out a supply snag that has me once again in awe of his people skills and business acumen. (I can talk about him here because he’s so busy I doubt he’ll have time to read what I write. Though he did make time to engineer the new addition to our backyard fun. Go Husband!)

All hands on deck–it’s setup time.

Along with the cottonwoods filling the air with their seeds, the beargrass is in full bloom in Glacier Park and it’s warm enough for splashing in the kiddie pool.

Taking advantage of our warm weather window.

Our employees are climbing peaks like maniacs. I love hearing about their adventures up high in the mountains. Store crew member Ben has been scaling mountains along the East Front from Eagle Ribs to Gable and in between with co-workers Grant, Micah and Aaron. As a rule– People who play hard in the mountains together, work hard together.

Here’s to continued summer fun!

Posted in Bakery, Friends, Fudge, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Huckleberry Pie, Pie, Two Medicine Grill, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Has Arrived in Glacier Park

Wildflowers in full glory cram the green meadows, pollen rims our abundant puddles owing to some much welcome rain, and one of the most beautiful stretches of road anywhere, Going to the Sun, is open across the divide.

A beautiful 52 mile drive through high alpine terrain.

The Glacier Park Trading Company is busy renting Avis cars, baking pizzas, cutting steaks and selling baked goods out of our new case. Husband’s extensive skills made it look like the new display has always been right there in that spot, the first thing you see as you enter the door–pretty mean feat in a hundred year old building

Baked Goods on display and ready for consumption.

Extraordinary Two Medicine Grill cook and phenomenally funny human, Corey Pine, got some well deserved publicity in the Great Falls Tribune a few weeks ago. For many of our co-workers ski season extends well into June.

A great place to eat; a great shirt to wear–what could be better?

In other Diner news . . . We have new t-shirts. Our friend Daniel did an excellent job with the logo and we couldn’t be happier with how it translated onto cotton. Husband gave Daniel one of the new garments and I think it would be terribly fun if he wore it while he waited tables at Serranos.

Merritt has taken advantage of the warmer weather to don new fashions.

Who needs pants when you have the right footwear . . .

Dalton got a fire call last night and did a stellar job knocking down the flames. We’re grateful to Auntie Carol and Dan the bear man for the opportunity.

Fireman Sam saves the day with some help from Dan the bear man and Officier Steele.

We had a fantastic June and are looking forward to a busy July when lots of folks come to enjoy Glacier Park in peak splendor and gaze at our wild critters.

Two foxes . . .

Grab the toddler, chase the fox or take a photo? A mother’s brain is a busy place.

Posted in East Glacier Park Montana, Fox, Friends, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Justin Bieber, Two Medicine Grill, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

She’s Done it Again-East Glacier’s Cleaner Thanks to Auntie Bethy

With her usual good humor and considerable organizational abilities, Beth Hagan once again marshalled East Glacier’s citizens and cleaned up the world.

She worked so hard, she blew-out a pair of gloves.

What Dalton refers to as fire fighter “Public Service” continues.

And then, in typical East Glacier fashion, we ate. Thanks to our friends at Luna’s for hosting in their lovely spot complete with a tryke and swing.

East Glacier gathers for burgers and hot dogs

A town that picks up trash together, sticks together.

Micah won what we’re calling “The Major Award” for finding ten unopened cans of Coors Light (I thought that was reward all it’s own and the pair of men’s underwear I found should’ve won but I couldn’t bring myself to cart them about all day. Beth held fast to the rules and my description of blue boxer-tighty cross-over undies did not count as an official entry….There’s always next year.)

Great times with some help from Electra!

Posted in East Glacier Park Montana, Friends, Glacier National Park, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Frenzy

The weeks fly by. Grandma Judy’s in the house and working her magic in The Glacier Park Trading Company. The Two Medicine Grill has been hopping. The Whistling Swan is up and running for the season. Husband has the Cozy Cabin all spruced up and ready for guests. We have an excellent team assembled–they arrived from across the country ready to work and also to play in Glacier Park.

Grandma Judy’s magic.

Husband’s got more irons in the fire than I can count–creating a bakery, procuring huckleberries for yummy baked goods, creating a fancy new motel room, installing a new bakery case in the store, fencing in our yard to keep the kiddos safe–plus all his usual work.

Mieka’s been baking turnovers, bacon/scallion scones, muffins and coconut creme pies. This Electra creation inspired a new word:  “Electrific.” (Technically, it’s a cranberry orange muffin.)

Has to be tasted to be believed.

She’s also cranked out apple streusel muffins and huckleberry bars. I’ve been trying to keep the diner in homemade, all butter crust pie. All of this has me excited for what we’ll be able to do once we have a whole bakery full of equipment.

Shiny, happy, new vent-a-hood!

A major piece of the puzzle–the hood that goes above the ovens–arrived.

Sarah’s created lots of fresh Fudge for the store.

A flavor for everyone!

Memorial Day found us, as it often does, with a fresh layer of snow.

Fun with sloppy spring snow.

We welcome the moisture and look forward to digging in and getting dirty.

Good Times! (Yes, that’s a bakery case in the back ground. It had to go somewhere…)

Posted in Bakery, East Glacier Park Montana, Fudge, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Snow Fall, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Frogs Are Out–Officially Trilling that It’s Springtime in Glacier

After a spate of crazy warm–as in the 70’s–weather, we heard the first frogs of the season on Monday night. Yippeee.

One of my favorite spots to take in the cacophony of frog calls.

The chorus frogs are an indicator species so their presence not only declares spring but proves a testament to the health of our local ecosystem. It’s a heartening sound all around, their throaty trill.

I worry that oil exploration across the Blackfeet Reservation and along the edge of Glacier Park could threaten that ecosystem health. Certainly, I drive a car and as Husband points out, we could not do what we do without oil. But here? Where one of the last vestiges of intact habitat supports grizzly bears and wolverine and bull trout and oodles of other species? Yes, I’m one of the Nimby P. folks (not in my backyard, please). I know we have to extract oil from somewhere. I just love wild places and the creatures who thrive in them. I do feel fortunate that local resident and extraordinary photographer Tony Bynum is documenting the oil exploration and drilling and fracing. I’m hoping against hope it turns out this is not a cost-effective place to extract oil.

In happier news, I do believe I have found the crust. I’ve always felt pie crust was a mere conduit for the pie. But then I ate this one. I’ve eaten a lot of this one. With this crust, the fruit is a conduit for the crust. I’m excited to try it with huckleberries!

In other bakery news, the plumber’s doing his part. Then we have an inspection and an electrician and another inspection and then it should be all systems go. I so admire Husband’s patience as I know he’s excited to get inside and work his magic.

Can you practically smell the baked goods?

Husband's vision sees a bakery where others see only an old Post Office.

In addition to the frogs having emerged, so have the bears and at least one of them took to munching on yearling cows like he was nibbling trail mix. I loved what our friend, rancher Beau Michael had to say about the bears. Pretty impressive as not all ranchers are so understanding. The annual spring mix of calves and hungry grizzlies in the low country has kept our friend Dan the bear man hopping.  Auntie Carol, Dan’s honey,  explained to Dalton that Dan would trap the grizzly on Suzy and Beau’s ranch and relocate it to the West Side. Dalton’s response: “I don’t think Costco is a good place for a bear. There are a lot of people there.”

Part of me feels badly that he associates the “West Side” with Costco and not the timbered wild places but the other part of me felt awed that he already understands that bears need their space.

Dog days of spring!

As the weather heats up so does business. Hope you all are loving the joys of spring, as well!

Posted in Bakery, East Glacier Park Montana, Friends, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Grizzly Bears, Huckleberry Pie, Justin Bieber, Pie, Uncategorized, Weather, Wild Critters | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plowing into Glacier’s Busy Season

Glacier Park’s snowplows continue making terrific progress. In our neck of the woods, the Two Medicine Road is free and clear and perfect for biking, strollering and breathing deeply that distinct Two Medicine aroma.

The skies graced us with several fresh inches a few days ago. As you can see we were ready for hammock time but kept the snowblower out (notice the handles in the foreground) because while we tend toward hope; we’re realists as well.

Just when you're ready for a nap in the sun.

Sprinter

The night it snowed I pulled a pie from the oven. The snow falling and that one-of-a-kind warmth from the oven mixed with the cinnamon tinged smell of baking apples created the sort of coziness I relish.  Having tried four different crust recipes with mixed success I was reminded of long-time Glacier restaurateur Buzz Lutz’s phrase “Little circles of torture.” I believe he was referring to pancakes but it seemed apt. We’re hoping the Rock and Roll Bakery will produce a second-to-none huckleberry pie to sell in the Two Medicine Grill. Those little gems are pricey so we’re perfecting the crust with other fruits.

Circle of Torture

Tasted good...crust could use perfecting.

I figure if Husband can make a bakery, surely I can make a pie.

It's a bakery.

Cousin Matt takes the space down to the studs.

I’ve always admired people like my mom and Kathryn of the Park Cafe who can churn out pies with grace and ease. But now I have respect–like  the sort one has for people who perform surgery, develop string theory and take beautiful photographs. A great pie is a blend of technique, science and art. And as it turns out, even less than perfect pie isn’t so bad.

We had such good luck with our end of the season sale in The Glacier Park Trading Company that we’ve decided to run it all year long. Buy two garments, get one half off. Our co-worker Micah did a fantastic job getting boxes upon boxes of shirts priced, folded and on the shelf.

I love the story of how Micah came to work with us. Dalton and I had flown home  to South Dakota for a visit and a really nice guy was renting us our Avis car. As he entered my address into the computer he asked, rather wistfully, “East Glacier, is that anywhere near Glacier Park.”

“Indeed it is. And…” I said searching for one of our business cards to hand him, “my husband and I have an Avis agency and if you’d ever like to come work with us, give us a call.”

Working the Avis counter was not my forte, to say the least. Talk about a boon to the cuss jar and hard on a marriage so I was anxious to replace myself and I thought this handsome young gentleman might be just the guy. South Dakota has a lot to recommend it but it is vertically challenged which can leave some of its residents with a penchant for mountains.

Then Micah told me he had a wife and a 3 month old and I figured that was a deal breaker.  Moving a whole family part way across the country for a seasonal gig seemed too much to hope for. I told him that babies got more and more fun (Dalton was 11 months old at the time so I figured I had some insight into this.) And that’s when Micah really impressed me. He said, “She’s already really fun.”

Great Friends

Micah and Gabby--our dear friends.

That was three years ago and we’ve been very fortunate to get to work with Micah ever since. His beautiful wife Emily is funny, kind and all-around lovely. That penchant for parenting that Micah displayed in the first moments I met him is shared by Emily and shows in their daughter Gabby and their latest arrival, son Cal.

Dalton and Gabby have always been the best of friends and it’s looking like Merritt and Cal will have a similar relationship. It’s a good gig–getting to work with our friends.

I wanted to generate some traffic. Husband suggested I try adding  Justin Bieber naked. We’ll see:)

The latest batch of pie crust calls. Hope all your crusts turn out tender, flaky and delicious and you’ve got someone in your life ready to put out the fires!

Putting out the snow.

Dalton fights a fire with his new fire tank--a gift from our dear friends the Andreases.

Posted in Bakery, East Glacier Park Montana, Friends, Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Trading Company, Justin Bieber, Pie, Sale, Snow Fall, Uncategorized, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment