Best Laid Plans

Scotland’s National Poet, Robert Burns, did not say “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.” Rather, in his poem To A Mouse, he wrote “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley.” You’ll note immediately that he wrote in good Scots dialect. And that can sum up the past two days here at SpelKerr Manor. Things did not go as planned either yesterday (the 4th) or Tuesday (the 3rd). I blame the wind.

They Call the Wind Maria

This has been a very mild winter in northwestern Montana. I can’t remember when we last had any snow that stayed on the ground for more than a day. What we have had is wind. Lots of wind. Major gusts of wind. Yesterday, at Point Six, the mountain north of Missoula, the wind blew at 77 miles per hour. I don’t believe the wind was that strong here, but my flags were trying to fly off the deck. Kevin’s radio antennae were waving in the breeze. The antenna that brings our internet service blew completely out of alignment. In short, on Tuesday we had very poor to non-existent internet service.

The good news is that service, while sporadic, did allow me to update my webpage and post my daily blog. The bad news was that everything took longer than it should have. Which brings us to Wednesday.

Wednesday’s Best Laid Plans

Wednesday was the epitome of best laid plans going wrong. I’m a morning person. I’m usually up by 5 a.m. and often earlier. Yesterday, I slept in. I didn’t come down to my computer until after 6. Even so, I got started right away, and updated all my “of the day” offerings. I even had the foresight to hit the “Publish” button. Then I started on my blog post. That’s when the power went out.

Using my cell phone, I posted on a blogger Facebook group that I had no power and felt stymied. Several of my fellow bloggers told me to use my phone to post. Sorry, Charlie. That doesn’t work for me. For one thing, I had no easy way to keep my phone charged, and with the power out, forget about plugging it in. Yes, I could have done what one blogger suggested. I could have charged the phone in the car. This is the 21st Century. My car has a dedicated outlet designed to plug in a cell phone. But here’s the main problem. My fingers are too big.

A Photo Based Blog

My blog, and indeed website, is based on photography, specifically my own photography. I have five main themes. First is travel, and the photographs I take while on the road. Most of my Photo of the Day posts fall in this category. Second is classic cars, and the photographs I take at car shows I visit around the region. I also showcase the flowers I’ve grown in my garden or seen in other gardens and in the wild. And I like to show off the weaving I do. Last of all are the life lessons I continue to learn, even at 70 years of age. Yes, this old dog is learning new tricks.

What I haven’t done, at least not to any great extent, is to put my photographs in the cloud. I have stored most of the over 100,000 photos I’ve taken in the past 14 years on my desktop computer’s hard drive and on the various external hard drives I have attached to the computer. I cannot access those photos from my cell phone. That means I can’t share those photos through my website or blog using my cell phone. And yes, indeed, this is a failure on my part. I should back up all my photography in the cloud. Should is the operative word.

Until I come up with a safer way of storing my photography, I am stuck using my desktop computer when I want to update my website and blog. Normally, this is not a problem. However, when the power goes out at 6:30 in the morning, and doesn’t come back on until it’s time for me to leave for a lunch appointment, well, let’s just say the best laid plans went awry.

The plans that went right

I may not have written and published my blog post, but I was able to get all the other updates done and published. Moreover, I was even able to post to Facebook and Twitter to let people know I had new content up. But the best thing that happened was lunch.

A couple of days ago, my video of the day was a musical composition by Rudolf Boukal, As the Page Turns. Rudi is a local artist and craftsman who posted a Facebook request looking for a photographer willing to collaborate. Of course I raised my hand, metaphorically speaking. Rudi and I have been talking about how we could work together on a new piece featuring his music and my photography. We scheduled a lunch date for Tuesday. We would meet at the Dog Hill Bistro. Local craftsman Orvall Kuester would join us. Orvall has lived in the area for over 40 years and operates a guide service for hunters, fishermen, photographers, and any others. He calls his business Horse Plains Photo Adventure. But in the spirit of best laid plans, Orvall had to cancel our Tuesday meeting. Instead we met on Wednesday.

The Railroad’s Chinese Jail

I have no idea how long lunch lasted. What I know is that the conversation never flagged, and I was fascinated by all that we shared. Orvall told about a building that has intrigued me over the years, a building that is today’s Photo of the Day. While the original building was most likely built in the 1880s, about twenty years ago Orvall rebuilt it from the ground up using period materials he found on the site.

We were speaking of the way the Chinese railroad laborers had been mistreated at that time, and Orvall told this story. You have to know that the railroad is on the north bank of the Clark Fork River and this building is on the south side. At the time, there were no bridges crossing the river. When the railroad bosses wanted to punish a Chinese laborer, that laborer was taken by boat across the river and left in this building, at least over night. That is why I captioned the photograph The Railroad’s Chinese Jail. As I understood Orvall, the “jail” was used only for the Chinese laborers. After lunch, I had to go grab a photo of the building.

Along River Road East

The Clark Fork River East of Plains MT
The Clark Fork River in March

It was a beautiful day, if still so windy that I had trouble opening my car door. I stopped at a big bend in the river to take the photo above, as well as several others, nine of which I stitched together into a panoramic view of the river and two of its islands. Along the way, I also passed a field of colorful, photogenic goats I planned to capture on my way home. Alas, another best laid plan. On my way home, the goats had all gone into their barn, no doubt to avoid the wind. I did see a long line of fence posts topped with bird houses. Less than half are visible in the photo below.

A line of home made birdhouses along River Road East
This Neighborhood is for the Birds

Time flew by. I needed to get home. I needed to write my blog post and post it online. But first, my car needed fuel. After I left the gas station, I took a call from Kevin who told me he’d purchased a pork roast for supper. I had planned to fix yesterday’s Recipe of the Day, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, but you know what they say about plans. As I thought about it, the roast would fit my day better, because I could put it in the Instant Pot™ and forget about it. But alas, everything I touched took longer than I felt it should. By the time I had the roast in the pot, I needed to get the day’s photography processed. That pork roast became today’s Recipe of the Day.

Again with the Best Laid Plans

All this is to say that things don’t always turn out the way we want. Processing the photographs took an inordinate amount of time. I couldn’t finish the photographic work before dinner. The nine-photo panorama took all my computer’s memory, and I had to walk away and let it be. It’s a beautiful shot, dare I say, and printed out it would measure 6 feet by 2 1/4 feet. Much too large to post here. But the roast was delicious. I had a great time with Rudi and Orvall. I got some photographs that please me. And in the end, even if my best laid plans went awry, it was a good day. Go with the flow.

Final Notes

I’ve talked at length about today’s Photo of the Day. The Classic Car of the Day is actually two cars, a 1920s Chrysler and a modern Dodge parked at Lambkin’s Restaurant in Lincoln, Montana. The Flower of the Day and the Weaving photos are both from times past, but photos I enjoy and have posted in my online sales galleries.

The Video of the Day, both yesterday and today, are videos made by Mads Peter Iversen, a photographer living in Aarhus, Denmark. I enjoy his photography and his teaching videos, and I’m happy to share them with you, my readers.

Finally, the Guest Site of the Day, both for yesterday and today, are blog posts by my fellow Elite Blog Academy Students. Yesterday, I featured India Ferguson whose blog is titled Your Closet Simplified. In India’s blog, she includes videos she has made about closet organization. If you, like me, need to work on your closet, you need to visit India’s blog.

Today’s guest site is Anna’s Wildflower Resilience, a new blog by a young women from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Anna’s message is particularly à propos my theme today. She talks about her own challenges, and how she has moved past or through them, much as wildflowers grow through such challenges as city sidewalks. Well worth the read.

And the pork roast. As usual, I changed the posted recipe slightly. Amy + Jacky suggest cutting the roast into 1/2 inch slices, then cooking it under pressure for 5 minutes. I did not cut up the roast, and cooked the whole thing for 90 minutes. The roast came out just fine, but the veggies were pretty much mush. Also, I didn’t have any crimini mushrooms, so I used some Costco dried mushrooms which I rehydrated in warm water. When it came time to add the chicken broth, I used some chicken broth paste mixed into the mushroom water. It all tasted delicious.

Peace. And if you enjoy reading my posts, be sure and subscribe so you don’t miss anything.

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