Thanks be to God in heaven, our moving truck rolled into town two Tuesdays ago. We've been living in our new Montana home for 12 days now. And here are some scenes from our life lately.
Empty boxes make really good forts. And warm cookies right out of the oven are a cozy comfort when it's snowing.
When I need a break from unpacking, I've been checking out some of the local antique and thrift stores. I've been finding some treasures (like that original Stratego game - a favorite of my brother's and mine when we were kids). And I am repeatedly aghast at how many dead animals and their parts are strewn about these shops. All manner of animals. A couple days ago, the kids and I went into one shop that had a row of FOUR full body pelts (heads included) of baby black bears hanging on the wall. Really? Cubs? I mean, antlers are one thing. I'm even cool with mounted deer heads, because those guys are super plentiful. But bear cubs? C'mon.
Let's just talk about animals for a minute. And California. There is zero hunting in Southern California. Most people's dogs live in greater luxury than 90% of the world's children. And while I've never taken my dog to the doggy day spa, or bought him a $5 doggy cupcake from a special doggy bakery (yes, there are several) I actually really love animals. I once spent about 30 minutes on the beach freeing a giant, exhausted pelican from fishing line cutting his skin and a hook puncturing his wing. A stranger and I worked to free that poor bird, which was so big that both my arms had to wrap around its body to hold him still. So I'm experiencing a bit of culture shock seeing the walking sticks made out of deer hooves, pelts that still have the faces on them, and, you know, dead baby bears.
Also, I took that bottom right photo of my lovely shelf paper in the pantry project. I almost wanted to jump off a cliff by the time I was finished, and it took me a crazy number of hours. But it looked great at the end. I organized my shelves, filling them with cookbooks and canned goods. It looked so cute. I thought it was worth it. For about two days. Until all the shelf paper started to peel up. Mmm hmm. No more sticky downy.
And here are some local sights you'd not see in Orange County. The DMV shares a building with a Baptist church, come to find out. Imagine how that would go over in CA. And I love that I live in a town with old abandoned mills (it's so Scooby-Doo, right?). The snow lacing this white wooden church was so lovely to me. I'm really enjoying the snow, actually. And then there's a pheasant in someone's front yard. I've never seen one of those guys in person before.
The last thing I wanted to share that falls under the category of "Not in California" happened at church today. (I wish I had a photo, but that wouldn't have been appropriate, right?). Someone on stage said that a baptism was coming up, and there was a big sort of temporary pool on the left of the room. When the lights were directed to the baptismal, I strained my eyes to see that the head pastor was in the water with the person getting baptized. And next I realized that the pastor was wearing a white undershirt and suspendered rubber waders nearly up to his chest. Is that Montana, or what? We are probably living in the fly-fishing capital of the world, and obviously the pastor wears waders into the baptismal! In fact, I now think the manufacturers of waders are missing a huge market. Five minutes later, he was back up on stage ready to preach in his dry clothes. Sort of genius.
So it's different here. Oh it's cold, but breathtakingly beautiful. I love my house, I'm loving exploring, and I love experiencing a different way of life. We are still missing our homeland; just tonight, my son said, "Let's talk about happy memories from California." But we're growing into our new culture.
And I like it. Well, except the baby bears part.