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The Thanksgiving Post

November 23rd, 2016 by katy

Hopefully this blog finds everyone safe and healthy and happy. It’s been quite a crazy month or so. Not just on a worldwide level, but for us here at Yellowstone Suites. Last month we traveled to Chicago for a week. It was fun catching up with our friends. And eating awesome food. My plan before we left was to hit all of our favorite spots, including Pita Inn and Lou Malnatis (of course). So now that the big food holiday is upon us, I guess I am not all about the food so much. Well I am, that’s kind of a lie. But it sounds good. I am a foodie, that will never change.

But instead of writing about food, I am in fact going to write about what I have to be Thankful for. And I am writing this in list form, just cuz.

  1. First and foremost I am Thankful for the Boo, and our furbabies. ¬†There is nothing better than going through life with someone who is your best friend and partner in crime. And well…. cats…. who wouldn’t be Thankful for them. Leo-our wonder boy, too naughty for words. Sal, our tiny old man. Scout, our little girl who likes to scold us… a lot and Batsu, our two year old chunky monkey. And Teddy bear our guinea pig ūüôā Sadly we lost Ellie Belle our other guinea pig a few weeks ago. But I am thankful to have her in my life for the short time she stayed to visit. To use a Leslie Knope reference, I found my team, and I like it an awful lot.
  2. I am Thankful for our guests. Over the course of this summer we have met some really cool people. We absolutely appreciate all of our guests, but there a quite a few that just stand out. We laughed a lot and learned a lot, and I hope that when you left here, you left with a smile and a fond memory.
  3. The milky way. Not the candy bar-although yum there too. I am thankful that on most nights we can see the Milky Way. For far too many people this has become an almost unattainable luxury. And that’s a shame. Its good to be able to see the vastness of what is around us. Its humbling to know that we are but a speck. That there are things so much greater than us.
  4. I am thankful for this community. ¬†There are nice people everywhere, don’t get me wrong. The difference is this. When we lived in Illinois, we would say hi to our neighbors. Here we stop and chit chat…a lot. There is a saying that goes something like cities are built on organizations while small towns are built on people (this may not be exact, but you get it). ¬†Plus, there is some bank in this area that has a wreath made of money. I read about it before we moved here in the newsletter. I’m all about the money wreath. LOL

 

It’s so easy to get bogged down with negatives. It’s easy to forget that there are so many wonders out there and so many things to learn and see and do and be. So much out there that should make us smile and laugh. Don’t let the negatives get in the way of that.

The Fire Blog

August 30th, 2016 by katy

Growing up in the midwest, when we would hear about wild fires, we were usually hearing about the big ones. Like the ones in California that cause immense property damage. Or the 1988 fires that burned a large portion of the park. Maybe now with the internet and social media and 24 hour news stations there is more coverage, but my point is I have always believed that any and all wild fires were a big deal. Until this year.

We have been told by both our neighbor (who is a fire behavior specialist) and the guy who works at the post office that this time of year in Gardiner is pretty hazy (smokey). The post office guy said that until fall it’ll be like this. They weren’t lying. Its very hazy (smokey). ¬†Its hazy from the fires-I think our haze may be coming from the Maple fire, but I am not sure. But the fires occur every year. Only when they go crazy-go-nuts are they really an issue. Otherwise they are monitored and people are redirected where it is necessary. That’s not to say people here don’t take them seriously. Fire prevention is of the utmost importance around here. Lightning strikes are one thing. Ding dongs who toss their cigarettes out the car window are another.

Electric Peak

Electric Peak

 

As you can see in the picture, electric peak is a little hard to see.

I’m not saying I really enjoy the haziness. It’s kind of odd to me. We were driving home from Livingston this afternoon, and I thought to myself that the smoke actually makes it look very wet and humid outside, even though it really is very dry. But it sparked a deep thoughts conversation with the Boo.

The fires going on are necessary. I knew that before I moved here. You need the fire to keep the forest strong. The lodge poles need the fire to open the pinecone so the seeds can begin new generations of growth. There are areas in the park where you can see the growth after the 1988 fires mixed in with the dead trees from that fire. These fires are just another reason I love living here. That connection with nature. That reminder that there are still things on this Earth greater than all of us. That still amaze. And I love that I get to live here. And learn here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m feeling very Olympic today

August 2nd, 2016 by katy

I love the Olympics. Immensely. I will love them even this year, in spite of the fact that I think they should be in Chicago. I may in fact be the only person from the Chicago area that wanted them there, and, as things turned out I am no longer in Illinois and would not be seeing them in person. But still…

In observance of all that is the Olympics and in the Olympic spirit, for the duration of the Olympic games, starting Friday, I will be making breakfasts based on traditional breakfasts from all over the world. Or at least what I can find on the internet, I am in fact not very well traveled. I have an idea for a German breakfast as well as a Greek breakfast. For the UK I think I will try my hand at baked beans-done their way, not ours- and maybe a fry up. We currently have two guests from England, I may pick their brains for ideas. I am also hoping to try non-European and North American breakfasts as well. Whatever I chose, I know it will be yummy, cuz all my food is made with love. There-now everyone knows my secret ingredient.

Aside from the plug for our yummy breakfasts, I would like to use this blog to share with you all some of my favorite Olympic memories. The first Olympics I remember were the 1988 Calgary Olympics. I don’t remember the games themselves, but I remember watching the first day of the games with my mom and my aunt and uncle. Not sure why they came over to watch them but there they were.

The year they were in Greece, I watched the opening ceremonies with my friends Nick and Jeff. We made pierogies and Saganaki. Yes, an odd combination, but it was fun and delicious. There may have been a salad in there somewhere as well. This is absolutely¬†unrelated to the Olympics, but I remember this evening because me and my friend Jeff stood by his front door for a long while discussing road kill. If you don’t already get it, I’m a bit odd.

I was living in Madison, WI during the Sydney Olympics. Not the happiest of times for me. I worked second shift and I would watch them in the middle of the night when I got home from work-which actually meant I got to see them live because of the crazy time difference. My lasting memory of those games is watching Savage Garden perform the song Affirmation at the closing ceremonies.

By far my favorite Olympics memory is the party me and the Boo threw for the London games. I never appreciated English cooking until I cooked a party full of it. I must say this before I go any further, they had an outstanding opening ceremony, and while I am not English, nor do I have any English ancestry, nor have I ever been to England, Blake’s Jerusalem always brings a tear to my eye. Anyway, back to our party. We decorated our condo with flags from all sorts of countries drawn on paper plates with markers. I absolutely missed the boat with my Toad in a Hole. I precooked the sausage because I thought it would be too greasy, not realizing that the grease makes the bread AWESOME. And my bread did not poof up like yorkshire pudding. Aside from probably not being super duper authentic the food was great, and everyone seemed to like it.

And that’s really the important thing, and the point of this blog. I use food as a way to experience cultures I’ll probably never get to experience in person. The idea behind the Olympics is supposed to be a coming together of all of us, and while yes we will back our respective countries, we can still appreciate everyone there working their pants off(not literally that-would be awkward, and I believe there was a winter Olympics where a skeleton guy slid down the course without his sled, and did indeed lose a bit of his clothes). ¬†I will never be an athlete, but I can cook and I can share with my guests a little of who I am through my food. And if they leave happy, then that’s all I can ask for, and that does make me feel very Olympic.

Leo the Wonder Cat-or why we tolerate naughtiness

July 22nd, 2016 by katy

From left to right: Sal Batsu, Leo, Scout

From left to right: Sal Batsu, Leo, Scout

Before I begin extolling upon you the wonder that is our old boy Leo, let me just say this. We do not pick favorites among our furbabies. We love them equally. In total we have 4 cats and 2 guinea pigs. Our cats are Sal, 18 (soon to be 19) Leo, 18 Scout (our young lady cat), 17 and Bad Batsu Maru, 2. Our piglets are Ellie and Teddy. Our two year old boy has a condition called Cerebellar Hypoplasia. He wobbles a bit when he walks. It seems since we moved here we have also become aunt and uncle to a whole host of doggies belonging to our neighbors, and possibly one large cat who comes into our yard on occasion. I have taken to telling our guests, if they see two little dogs or a large cat in our backyard, they are very nice, but they are not ours. We don’t mind having an extended fur family. Dogs are high maintenance. This way we get all the fun with little to no responsibility.

 

Having given mention to all our babes, I remember this blog is about Leo. He goes by many names. The Boo named him for Leo Tolstoy. When I came along, he became Leonid, and eventually Leonid Breshnev. The Boo sometimes thinks he only answers to the name “No.” And that is quite possibly true. We spend a good portion of our time telling him to stop being naughty. His hobbies include knocking things off of tables and ripping up paper. When we aren’t talking to each other, me and the Boo spend an awful lot of time saying things like “Leo, stop that.” and “Leo, no.” Or my personal favorite, “\What is he ripping up now?” He doesn’t seem to care. You will notice on his portrait the piece of paper stuck in his teeth. Clearly he embraces who he is without shame.

Our wonder boy

Our wonder boy

None of our cats roam the main house. I’m just not cool with that. I would worry that they could get out, or ruin things; Leo isn’t the only naughty one in the bunch. Plus people have allergies and we like our guests to be able to breath. But when we have guests that want to see our cats-many of you have cats at home that you are missing-Leo is who we reach for to be that surrogate kitty. He LOVES attention. He LOVES to be pet and for the most part he likes to be held.

So, while Leo is probably our naughtiest cat, he is also our most lovable(to strangers). If you stay with us and happen to be missing your own furbabies we have no problem letting you snuggle our Leo. In the process you may even get to see Sal try to slink out of our apartments. He likes to explore on occasion.

 

 

 

 

The blog with the shameless plug

July 14th, 2016 by katy

V is for Victory…Tacos.

When we moved here almost four months ago, we found ourselves chit chatting with our neighbor. I do not remember the specifics of that conversation except that she mentioned a food truck in Bozeman that had tacos. I thought that sounded super cool, since I love tacos. A lot(true story).

For anyone interested, Bozeman is about an hour and a half drive from Gardiner. Give or take ten minutes. We go out to Bozeman about once a month. These trips are, for the most part, all business, no fun. We go to Costco and Target and the pet store. Than we drive home. We don’t really have time to do much more. I’m perfectly happy about this, if we had time to chillax in Bozeman that would mean we have no business, and that’s very uncool.

Yesterday, we were lucky enough, and efficient enough, to spend a little more time in the big city. And I was finally able to get my tacos. OMG! YUMMY! I had two tacos, and they were both totally delicious. I had the Kim Jong, which has Korean BBQ beef and the Piggly Wiggly, which is pork. I am thinking to myself that if I had ordered more tacos, I could be enjoying one right now. Sadly, I did not. HMMMMM….. Maybe they could drive down to Gardiner once or twice a month. Or even Livingston. I’d meet them there with a big old smile and wad of cash. I’ll be posting this idea on their Facebook page. In the mean time, I highly recommend that you go and eat at Victory Tacos in Bozeman. Get the Kim Jong, it’s super yummy.

Our very nice hardware guy recommended to us Heap Burger-another food truck in Bozeman. Be forewarned Heap Burger-you are next on our food truck’s of Bozeman list.

Here is a link to Victory Tacos.

Stay tuned next week, when I tell the world about our cat Leo. That’s not a joke either. I could right a book about our alien cat, he is just that interesting.

Ice cream. Enough said.

July 2nd, 2016 by katy

Yesterday was creative ice cream flavor day. How exciting is that? I once read that in the Summer something like 10% of people eat ice cream as a meal. ¬†I don’t see a problem with this, in fact I would definitely encourage this. We currently have all sorts of ice cream in our freezer. And I recommend, if you visit the area, that you try Wilcoxson’s ice cream. It’s local to us and we like supporting local businesses.

I grew up in Greendale, WI. When we were kids (and by we, I am referring to me and my brother), we would often walk to the “Cone Shop.” ¬†It was a small ice cream shop that served soft serve cones and slushies. I don’t have any specific memories attached to this place, but I will always remember what it looked like, and it smelled exactly like an ice cream cone. It smelled not just like the ice cream, but the cone as well. It was a very basic place. Simple. They sold cones. And tasty ice drinks. I think, but I am not 100% certain, but I think my brother liked the graveyard slushies(all the flavors mixed together). ¬†I was a purist. A twist cone. Chocolate and vanilla. That was good enough for me.

In honor of Creative Ice Cream flavor day, go out and get a cone. If you can, walk to a local place, and get yourself messy. Let it melt on your hands and face. Pretend your a kid.

Or stay in air conditioned comfort and try out my recipe below. It is a rif on Medieval Madness, a flavor Blue Bunny does not offer and has not for years.

 

Medieval Madness-Katy’s version

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup malted milk powder (I use Ovaltine)

4-6 3 Musketeer Bars

A few squeezes of caramel sauce

–Whisk together the first six ingredients and pour into an ice cream maker. Follow your ice cream makers instructions. About 3-4 minutes before ice cream is done, add broken up 3 Musketeers. When ice cream is done fold in a few squeezes of caramel.

You can eat it right away, or put it in the freezer. Either way, you’ll enjoy it.

 

 

Adventures in gardening part 2-or why I feed the birds

June 9th, 2016 by katy

So I have already established that I can’t garden. My popcorn was a flop-and while it has actually started growing, its just too little too late. We have six tomato plants now, and the growing season is too short. I haven’t killed my tomatoes yet, and I think they are growing so that’s a good thing. ¬†We also have some irises and another pink flower that smells like a rose, but looks like a carnation. I can’t take credit for these they just showed up in our yard. We are more than happy to have them, and as long as they need no assistance from us they should be fine.

I have decided that I do not like gardening. I don’t even like running the sprinkler(but I do). If it wasn’t so windy in our little corner of Earth, I would probably just put in a rock and sand garden. I’d especially love to go back in time and bring back my plastic Scooby Doo pool and put that in our yard. Ah, the good old days.

So, why am I writing such a seemingly negative blog? Because through my efforts to hide my distaste for gardening I have learned to love birds, and see them as a more than suitable substitute for whatever is lacking in my yard.

Last week me and the Boo went out and bought several bird feeders. We bought a boat load of food for them as well. Peanuts, seeds, sunflower seeds. I even bought dried meal worms, but the only thing interested in those seem to be June bugs. We currently have 5 birdfeeders, and a hummingbird feeder(the ants are enjoying that one). And what a hoot it is to watch all our feathered neighbors!

I have been consulting a birding book to identify some of our guests. Obviously we have robins (who doesn’t). But we also have yellow finches, and Eurasian Collared Doves. I decided that we have a LOT of Brewer’s Blackbirds and at least one Pine Grosbeak. I know we have other ones, but I haven’t been able to see them all as clearly. We also have one very sweet and cute chipmunk that frequents one of our bird feeders. I sometimes put peanuts on the ground for him(or her).

Anyway, I could literally sit and watch these birds all day. I bring out my binoculars and my camera and sit on the porch and just watch my little feathered acquaintances eating and flying around. And boy do they eat! I cannot wait to see what craziness ensues when I put out my homemade suet cakes. These birds are lucky to be living near an establishment that cooks a ton of bacon.

Lastly, I find this to be very, very serendipitous. Today on Google, their logo was dedicated to Phoebe Snetsinger. I have never heard of her, I am sure most people probably haven’t. In any case, she is a birder who documented over 8400 species of bird. Good for her, I say! Birds rock!

Our Brewer's Blackbirds. This must be bachelor hour, their ladies are brown not black.

Our Brewer’s Blackbirds. This must be bachelor hour, their ladies are brown not black.

Some of our Irises and our platform feeder.

Some of our Irises and our platform feeder.

Our pretty carnation/roses.

Our pretty carnation/roses.

 

On Being a Caretaker of history

May 24th, 2016 by katy

Every now and then I rummage through the drawers in this house. I don’t know what I am expecting to find. Possibly a treasure map…the meaning of life…who knows. I have yet to find much of note. The other day I did come across a second dustpan in one of the cabinets in the laundry room. That was a bit exciting.

Today, I was cleaning the Roosevelt room. I looked in one of the drawers and began paging through the old journals that we leave out for guests to sign. I had been planning to throw the old journals out. I like to think I am a firm believer in starting new, on a clean slate. But I realized something while I was reading through one of them. These journals really aren’t mine to throw out. Yes, technically they are in my possession, they belong to me. But in a way they belong to this house.

Journal pic

I was able to to look back in one of them and find when Julie bought the B and B. There were notes wishing her good luck and much success. A lot like the notes people are leaving for us. I feel like throwing these out would be like breaking a circle of sorts. These are part of the history of the house.

It’s not only that. These journals are a reflection on the people that have stayed here. They are a reflection of the diverse group of people that chose to visit-both us and this area in general. The most recent entry in the Journal in the Roosevelt room is in Chinese or Japanese.(I’m not entirely sure. I am pretty sure it isn’t Korean, only because I saw a lot of Korean writing when we lived in the AH). I don’t know what it says, but it is nice to know that someone took a few minutes to write something, even though they probably knew we wouldn’t understand it.

The year before last, I entered a contest to win a B and B in Maine. I had to write an essay and send in 125 dollars. Obviously I didn’t win, but that’s a whole other story. In my essay I wrote about being a caretaker¬†of history, of the old bones of a solid house. Since we took on the responsibility to care for this place, it is important for me to know and preserve it’s history. I plan to do that, even if that history is something as simple and recent as a few guests book.

 

Just a few notes-May 28th is The Hells-A-Roaring horse drive. I am so excited we are making big bold breakfast burritos and a side for our guests.

And an update on our planting (from last weeks blog)-Our Petunias are meh. They are alright. The Boo never did use his jewelry box to plant anything. It is currently unusable as both a jewelry box or a planter. And the popcorn never even germinated. I know this because I dug it up yesterday. Watch for updates on a planned fairy garden in that space.

Adventures in Gardening

May 16th, 2016 by katy

¬† ¬† ¬†To say I like gardening is a bit of an overstatement. I love gardens. I like flowers, I like plants and I like trees. I enjoy seeing butterflies and birds. I love the smell of my lilac bushes.Lilac Bush I’m just not all that interested (or good at) creating garden spaces. I try though, and that really is what counts.

When me and the Boo lived in Arlington Heights we had a vegetable container garden. The first year we planted tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers and summer squashes. Oh and little teeny round carrots. That year we had crops of what can only be called micro vegetables. Aside from our tomatoes everything else grew in miniature. One night for dinner we ate our entire harvest of teeny weeny carrots. We got about a fork full each. Later that fall we had a two fork harvest of Brussels sprouts. The next year we decided to go with cucumbers and tomatoes. Really tomatoes are pretty reliable. If its a good year anyone can be successful with them.

The third year we transitioned our fourth floor balcony garden to mostly flowers. I bought a Yellowstone flower seed mix(Or what I like to call pretty weeds) the year we vacationed out here. They grew great and they were very colorful. We also bought marigolds, snapdragons and petunias. I also planted Mexican sunflowers. The flowers were a much greater success than the vegetables. And they were darn pretty.

So this year, I have planted several things. I have some calibrachoa hanging flowers. They are just little guys now. I put them outside a week ago, only to bring them back in because it was too cold. I have some petunias also. We are actually mildly excited about planting the stuff we bought. I am still trying to learn what “zone” we are living in. I know it’s different than Milwaukee/Chicago, I just don’t know how. I do know to plant nothing in the front yard, as the elk will eat everything they can reach.

For our petunias me and the Boo even bought some fun and odd things to plant them in. He found a tall jewelry box (which he has been fighting with for about an hour-there are no plants in there yet). And I found some blue wooden thing. It looks like a tiny bench. (You can see them both in the pictures) I also planted some petunias in the ground.

Hopefully the boo will work something out with his planter.

Hopefully the boo will work something out with his planter.

Crossing my fingers that my petunias grow.

Crossing my fingers that my petunias grow.

The birthplace of my corn.  We hope you join us in about 145 days to enjoy it.

The birthplace of my corn. We hope you join us in about 145 days to enjoy it.

The last thing I planted was popcorn. This place came with a raised bed. I was going to plant tomatoes, but lost interest in that. Than I was going to plant kale, but I don’t eat kale fast enough to justify growing large quantities of it. At the grocery store I found seeds for popcorn and that just spoke to me. I hope that in about 130-150 days I can treat our guests to some fresh home grown popcorn! I will certainly keep everyone updated.

Greetings and Salutations from your Innkeepers

May 10th, 2016 by katy

It has been a month since me and the boo purchased Yellowstone Suites Bed and Breakfast. We have posted quite a bit on Facebook, and I have even attempted tweeting. But I have held off writing a blog. It is much easier to scribble out a few words, or post a picture. But here I find myself ready to start my blog. This first one is just an introduction. I might start to wax sentimental, and it might get wordy. But that’s me.

If I wanted to make a long story short I would say that me and the boo had a five year plan to own a B and B. We came out to Yellowstone on a vacation in 2014 and fell in love with the area. When Yellowstone Suites came on the market it wasn’t an option at the time. We looked around a little bit and almost pursued a few B and B’s in Canada. Things eventually fell into place and here we are today, innkeepers in one of the best places on Earth.

For those of you more interested in flights of fancy, this is the long version.

I wanted to live out west since I was 19 years old (For those keeping score, I’m almost 41). I went on a trip to North Carolina to see Biltmore Estate-a house that comes in a close second to this one on my list of houses I love. There I was, 19 years old, driving from Raleigh to Asheville. It seemed like out of the blue in the distance there were the Appalachians. I loved the Appalachians. The colors were at peak(it was fall). But in the back of my mind, I wanted to see the big boy mountains. The Appalachians are an old mountain range, I think they are shrinking. I wanted to see snow caps.

20 years went by before I was able to get out west. It was absolutely worth the wait. The first time I saw the snow cappers out in the distance I cried. I was speechless. We spent that vacation at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We both fell in love with the area. To be able to say we live here is an absolute blessing. I look outside my window and I can see mountains, a river, elk, deer. We go for a hike and see snakes and marmots. I love it. And I love talking to our guests who are seeing this stuff for the first time. I’m probably just as excited as they are.

So that’s a little background on how two people from Chicago and Milwaukee ended up running an inn in Gardiner MT.

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