Monday, July 30, 2012

Travelers' Rest

Before the Reineke reunion group went their separate ways, we all met up at Travelers' Rest Preservation and Heritage Association Museum in Lolo, MT. It was the most appropriate place from which to part. This is the historical base site where Lewis and Clark split up for separate explorations of the territory in 1806. Lewis headed down the Bitterroot River toward the Great Falls of the Missouri. Clark went toward the Three Forks of the Missouri. Travelers' Rest is the only archaeologically verified Lewis and Clark campsite.
The visitor's center contains a nice, old-fashioned presentation of historical and archaeological displays.
Ben really enjoyed the artifacts. "It's a reo T pee Mama!", he said.

This Blackfoot Indian stood strong and proud over the beautiful handiwork of the Salish and Nez Perce people.

David and JP found some self-depreciating humor in the comparison between their own "2011 Elk Camp" and the historical campsite of Lewis and Clark.

Uncle Don marveled at the antique axes displayed; very different from the guitar 'axe' he wields.
There were several red felt hats 
in the logging display; just like the one Grandpa Jon wears. This was what the old loggers all used to wear. I think Grandpa Jon's woods-worn hat has seen more outdoor action than the hats on display, though.

I think the Burkhart brothers were impressed by the tales of the old-timers and the tools they used.

I think we were all reminded of Dylan, who couldn't make it to the reunion events. He is working in the woods fighting summer wildfires. We are looking forward to having him "back at camp", so to speak.

Happy Trails Reinekes! We had a great time! Thanks for making it to our campsite for a visit!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Party That Began In Nebraska

Here is Grandma Great and her children of the corn (missing Mitzi).  She got this Nebraskan party started back in 1924 and then brought it to Montana not so many years ago!

We hosted a mini reunion party at our house on Saturday for the whole resultant Reineke gaggle! What a great weekend!
We ate, drank, sang and were merry until we were all goofy tired.
We celebrated Collin's 14th birthday with more singing and some confetti cupcakes.
We celebrated Uncle Roy, turning 39 again, with a huckleberry chocolate chip cheesecake Connie made especially for her little bro. It was DELICIOUS!
I didn't take enough pictures. We also have some very elusive family members. But, I did get this great grin captured. We partied with the Code-Man! What a great guy!
The time went by quickly, but Ben and his Grandpa Jon got to show each other lots of cool stuff.

And, of course, it wouldn't be a visit from Ben's Grandma Connie without her customized version of The Three Little Pigs.

The Reinekes are coming! The Reinekes are coming!

Uncle Don, Aunt Linda, Travis and Cody drove all the way from Iowa to see family here in the Pacific Northwest. Grandpa Jon and Benjamin waited anxiously for the party to start. 

Ben drove there in an economy car using alternative fuel.

I got my baby fix!
My birthday buddy and I had a toast!

Then, an amazing Bitterroot sunset kicked off the concert at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Ralph's place.

The musicians played through the rain, accompanied by their new drummer.

There is a lot of serious music talent in this family! Uncle Don is the most amazing guitar player / songwriter / singer I have ever met. It was such a treat to listen to him and Travis play.

We really enjoyed our private family concerts and sing-a-longs! Grandma Connie's playing and singing make you feel like you are part of a professional group. She is amazing. Great Aunt Shirley and Great Grandma Eileen sang with inspiration. David has vocal talents he unleashes only at special events like these.
Songs, old and new, were shared long into the night; long after we had to leave to get Ben into bed. We reluctantly said good-night and looked forward to having the gang over to our house for more fun.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Following David's 20-year class reunion, we had the good fortune of getting a visit from one of David's classmates. Michele and Dave brought their beautiful family to the Bitterroot Valley on their way home from a family vacation to Yellowstone. This happy couple is being pinned down by two official Yellowstone Junior Park Rangers!
Everett appears to have built a time machine to take himself to the moment he saw a Bear at Yellowstone.

Elliot's creation can zoom around Old Faithful and back again.

Benjamin became an instant Lego Maniac exposed to the little plastic treasures.

Ben was also thrilled to have such smart, nice, fun friends to play with.
The boys all did a nice job of sharing all of his toys. By being such good examples, the older boys taught Benjamin a lot of great boy skills.
We gave Dave and Michele the "Grand Tour" of downtown Hamilton. This, of course included a trip to Ben's "Bear Park".
.... and River Rising for some River Freeze coffee treats.

Thank you so much for making us part of your family vacation, Dave & Michele!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dahlias, Glorious Dahlias!

My first dahlia has bloomed! Let the floral fireworks begin!
This little darling has had a pretty rough go of it. We had a very wet autumn. As a result, I had to rush my bulb-hibernation preparations. She survived a winter of less-than-ideal storage conditions. Many of her fellow-tubers were lost to rot. Her tuber was planted late due to bizarre vernal weather delays. Then, once planted, our tenacious pup dug it up and deposited it on the lawn; twice. I had to flat-out replace many damaged neighboring bulbs (80% of my plantings). You can imagine my surprise when this tough plantlet was observed poking up out of the ground on May 21st!

Grandpa Jon, a master at Dahlia cultivation, gave me the great-grandma of this tuber. The bulbs he gave me are all the largest, most robust, plants in my Dahlia bed. This is the first bloom of the year! Just look at her! Isn't she beautiful, standing there with her little baby sisters, sunning herself?

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Frosty Treat

Benjamin had his very first milkshake, at The Circle Restaurant in Plains Montana, on the way home from David's class reunion.

Daddy shared his chocolate shake, but Benjamin said his favorite was his own vanilla shake.

High five Daddy! This was fun!

Moments like these are very, very sweet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The School Bus Driver

"I'm the Bus Driver, Mama!" BEEP! BEEP!
Public transportation just isn't what it used to be. Let me tell ya, you don't get a very long bus ride for 50 cents. This sweet little face can blow through a roll of quarters faster than a college student at a laundromat.

"The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round; all through the town".
(This little ditty is being provided just in case it isn't already stuck in your head too.)

This is as fun as it gets. That is, until the county fair this fall!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's that time again!

When a person runs for Class President in High School, they aren't thinking about what they are signing up for; for life. David gets to organize his class reunions and it is time for his 20th. Luckily, he has help.
The mighty Wampus Cats of 1992 will meet soon to get caught up, have some fun together and wish each other continued success in life. The Wampus Cat, I am told, is a real and truly cruel predator. Wikipedia gives the feline a nod (click here). The Wampus Cat of Clark Fork, Idaho, is a uniquely vicious version of the Native American folklore creature. Established in 1935, theirs has a mace flail for a tail!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dylan's New Assignment

Dylan is in Boise working on extinguishing the Avelene Fire today (click here for breaking news). We are proud of his hard work and heroism!
This is a picture from his work in New Mexico. It was taken by one of his crew members. He is shown putting out the last of the flames on a human-caused wildfire, which caused evacuations and threatened homes late last month.

Monday, July 9, 2012

B-B-Q with the Fam

The only thing better than a Burkhart backyard summer cookout, is a cookout with more Burkharts! Aunt Linda and Uncle Malcom came all the way from Oklahoma to join Jon and Connie on a Montana trek. They were pretty tired from sight-seeing all day in the hot sun, but this fun crowd never quits. We relaxed, ate some ribs, and chatted until dark. It was really great to see everyone!

We even had our very own, very exciting, marching parade! It got even more exciting when the sprinklers came on. Yes, we know, we are pretty entertaining, attentive hosts.

Ben napped while the retired gang went to the Big Hole, but he had a great time assembling his "Teepee Village", Grandma. The warrior shields were of special interest to him. We were informed that his Buzz Lightyear is a warrior too. Thanks for visiting our teepee!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Big Brother is a SUPER HERO!

Wildland Firefighter Hero by day! Big Brother Super Hero by night!

Dylan takes on many disguises to hide his true identity.

Benjamin knows Dylan's true identity as SUPER BROTHER!

Dylan's loyal sidekick is taking notes.

The cape makes him invincible!

The bug glasses really make the costume!

Dylan questions the invisibility characteristics Ben claims about his cape.

When asked if he can fly, Ben replied, "OKAY!".

This is how cool Big Brother is.

This is, also, how strong Big Brother is!

Up, Up, and Away!
Dylan is definately Ben's hero.