Monday, July 18, 2011


Nope, not turning into a butterfly. However, it might just be an apt metaphor for this blog as I am emerging from a self-imposed exile due to a few months of changes and general mahem. A forthcoming post will provide a fast forward through the last few months of events in photos, but for now here is a quick rundown - weekly commutes between Billings and Fort Peck, four hours one way through June; co-leader of a Montana Audubon bird tour to Westby in early June with Ted Nordhagen and a fine group of fellow birders; the rest of the week was spent leading field trips and doing one presentation for the Wings Across the Big Sky Montana Audubon bird festival in Glasgow; the next week the movers showed up and packed the house up, we sold the house and on Friday that week we bought another house in Billings (which is slowly starting to feel like home not just a vacation rental of some sort); the next week I attended a BLM wildlife biologist tour in Eastern Montana around Miles City while Laura arranged and unpacked to the best of her ability; followed by a week of training on the ins and outs of the Migratory Bird Treat Act in Cheyenne, WY. We are now settling in to our new house and we are still trying to find that box that has the salt shaker in it. Did I mention the floods?

Other transitions have occurred slowly over the last couple of years too, but the realization of their passage just became more apparently recently. It looks as if the "Ice" portion of this blog will not be represented much here any more. My time with Oceanites - the arrangement that allowed me the opportunity to visit "the ice" and along the way Patagonia - has apparently run it's course. I have been outsourced by grad students with better connections and more free time to spend away from work and home. I remain hopeful that somehow things might work out, but for now it appears that it is a rather distant possibility. I knew it was going to come to an end sooner or later but it still is very disappointing that the possibility is no longer perched in the not too distant future.

On the up side - I have a rather large new landscape to explore right here around Billings. The Mussleshell River watershed is probably one of the most out of the way places in Montana and I am looking forward to exploring the prairie and foothills in this relatively brand new landscape for me. The Beartooth Plateau and Yellowstone Park are only a couple of hours away, and the Pryor Mountains and the Crow Reservation are just to the south. The Crazies, Castles, Little Belt and Big Belt mountain ranges are all within striking distance. And the Yellowstone River is not that much farther away than the Missouri River was for me at home in Fort Peck (there are just a few more houses between me and the river now). We still miss our friends and we really miss our family, but we don't have to drive 20 miles for milk anymore (oh and there is this great barbeque joint just down the street).
So what do I have planned for Prairie Ice in the new future? Well, there are at least four book reviews waiting in the wings, I need to finish the story of Pronghorn 166 (and what a good story it is), and there are a few other posts lurking in the corners of my mind where they ran away and hid when I started writing this sentence.
So, if anyone is still checking in, there is a pulse.


Mark Churchill said...

It's good to know you're still out there. Welcome back, and rest assured there are indeed people still checking in and anxious for more despatches from your new landscape.

Linda P said...

Yes, always enjoy when you have time to write.

Beyond My Garden said...

Those Mountain plovers are great shots. I hope you come back to write some more.