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Chipmunk; Great Aunt Suzy; Elk Burgers? Down for 52!

On a recent bike ride, Suzanne caught this little fellow, a Yellow-pine chipmunk (Tamias amoenus) trying to abscond with this Igloo water jug. It hasn’t rained much here in recent weeks, and while he may have been thirsty, there was a creek not too distant. This water source was closer, and also proximate to humans who might give him (her?) a free handout. Western chipmunks eat mostly seeds, fruits and nuts, and do not hibernate in winter like their Eastern cousins. The word Tamiasis Greek for treasurer, steward or housekeeper, referring to its habit of storing food for eating in winter when snows might keep it from foraging. 

We arrived in Whitefish, Montana, just outside Glacier National Park, where Suzanne’s nephew Matthew lives with His Lovely Wife Eleanor and Their Beautiful Daughters Olive (4) and Ruth (4 months). (Olive was away visiting with her grandmother during this photo-op.)

The girls are named after their great grandparents (Suzanne’s dad and mom) Oliver (Bill) and Ruthie Smeltzer. I guess that makes My Lovely Bride “Great-Aunt Suzy”, snicker, snicker…. Smack! 

Eleanor and Matthew hosted a great pre-birthday dinner for Suzanne at their house in Whitefish. Here is Olive at dinner contemplating one of her favorite foods, a delicious all-beef hot dog. I can attest to its deliciousness, because I had two! Eleanor also made a fabulous zucchini bread birthday cake for Suzanne. The six candles on it made her feel like a kid again!

We also visited the weekly farmers’ market in Whitefish, which was very lively and full of unusual goodies. I was particularly fond of the elk brats (I had two, although My Lovely Bride helped me with the second… I guess her low-fat, low-cholesterol, healthy dinner selection wasn’t quite filling enough, and a Mountain Man’s elk brat had to fill the void, so to speak… 

We also had a nice hike up in Glacier National Park with Shawn, Eleanor’s dad, who is a real Mountain Man! He hikes almost daily in the park among the grizzly bears, carries industrial size cans of bear spray, and talks to the bears with “Hello, Bear, I’m out here now!” while you’re hiking so there aren’t any surprise encounters of the unfortunate kind… 

Suzanne met her personal birthday goal of running 52 minutes (5+ miles), doing 52 situps and 52 pushups… and wearing out her poor aging husband… (anyone want to guess how old she is?)

I took My Beautiful Birthday Bride out to dinner tonight at the Whitefish Lake Golf Club Restaurant, and we had a delightful, delicious meal. Suzanne had the walleye on Egyptian cous cous with Kalamata olives, spinach and grape tomatoes. Your hungry correspondent had a very nice sirloin with horseradish potato pancakes, glazed carrots, little trees (broccoli), and some kind of squashed squash. Birthday Girl tried a new Chardonnay, and my Cabernet made up for the little trees. (Like President Bush, I have never had a food orgasm over broccoli.) 

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