Archive for the ‘Bed and Breakfast Montana’ Category

Missoula’s Blue Mountain B&B’s Breakfast Blog- Making Aebelskivers

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Viking Ship Museum     Aebleskiver IBelgrave Lantern Festival

Danish Pancake with Raspberry

Making Aeblskivers with Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast:               

                         A Sweet Treat from the Vikings!      

 

Winter is one of my favorite seasons because it brings a sense of peace and quiet to the world.  I love the way the snow gleams in both daylight and moonlight, covering the garden and pond at the B&B in a sleepy wonderland of mystery and beauty.

 

I dream about Christmas and all that it brings:

  • Sleigh bells, ginger bread and joy
  • The smell of freshly cut fir bows, carried by cold hands through crisp snow
  • The laughter of children and angelic voices that lift to the heavens, lighting a world that is sometimes hidden in darkness and cold

Santa Lucia Processiona great day at schoolWinter calm {Revisit}[Daily Project]

 

The winter holidays are about celebrating traditions and miracles of many kinds.  In our home, this means bringing a touch of Scandinavia to the season:

  • A tree adorned with flags, painted glass and wooden ornaments: horses, hearts, snowflakes and Santas.
  • Gathering family and friends for a smorgasbord of food and fun on Christmas Eve.
  • Stockings hung near the hearth, waiting to be filled with secrets.

Merry ChristmasSanta´s ClimbingIron Craft - Handmade Holiday

 

Swedendinner by candlelight

 

 

Ringing in the Christmas season with Swedish sleigh bells, passed down through the generations:

  • Imagining a time long past when my great grandfather’s gentle hands placed these very bells on his team of horses.
  • Listening in my mind to the music of hooves, bells and voices- synchronized beauty.
  • The family gliding over freshly fallen snow, bundled in their holiday best, rejoicing in the miracle of Christmas.

Norwegian Fjord Horses on the IceNorwegian Fjord Horses on the Ice

Dara horseTanum Church

 

 

 

Awaking to the lovely aroma of Scandinavian-American breakfast delights: 

  • Rich coffee, hot cocoa and spiced apple cider
  • Sizzling bacon and cinnamon rolls
  • Crepe-like pancakes from Sweden that melt in your mouth OR…
  • Delicious, Danish Aebelskivers served with a decadent caramel sauce or lingonberry syrup

  Swedish PancakesSprinkled with Cinnamon and SugarSmall Julbok

 

One of the most beautiful things about the holiday season is sharing that special joy we feel with others.

So this year,  from our home to yours… 

Please enjoy these delightful Danish Aebelskiver recipes! 

 

Note: Before you can truly enjoy an Aebelskiver, you have to know a bit about its background!

*Origins of this delightful, Danish delicacy: 

VikingsAebelskivers

 

Aebelskivers are believed to have been around before the 1600′s.  Traditionally, they were cooked with pieces of apple (aeble) in the center or applesauce, hence the name.  This is not as common in modern Danish cooking, however.
These unique pancakes are often made at Christmas time and served with glogg, which is a Scandinavian mulled wine.  They are not so much a breakfast food, but a treat to be enjoyed later in the day or on a special occasion.

 

In American, you can find these unique pancakes in Solvang, California which was founded as a Danish colony in 1911.   This darling town continues to share its Danish heritage with others and several popular restaurants serve Aebelskivers.  One of my favorite Aebelskiver-making videos was made in Solvang, so click and enjoy.

Americana 2

 

There is a fun legend associated with the invention of Aebelskivers that takes us back to Viking times.
THE STORY:  After a particularly difficult day in battle, a group of Viking warriors returned to their longboat very tired and hungry.  For dinner, they mixed some flour and milk together, which they then cooked on their metal shields over a fire.  Having just been through a harrowing battle, their shields had many dents in them.  The batter pooled in these dented areas and formed the first Aebelskivers!

 

IMG_0101Abelskiver

 

Aebelskivers

 

 

 

 

 

What in the heck is an Aebelskiver anyway?

 

 

Aebelskivers are about as difficult to explain as they are to pronounce, you really have to take a bite out of one to understand the concept!   Many people in the U.S. are more familiar with the extremely thin, crepe-like Swedish pancakes that are rolled up and then filled.  In comparison, this Danish version of pancakes must be made in a special pan, either cast iron or aluminum.  You can sometimes find aebelskiver pans in specialty shops or on line.  We found ours at Costco of all places!  Aebelskivers have the heaviness of a pancake, but the lightness of a popover.  They are a bit like a cross between a doughnut and a pancake.  Round, light and airy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, they remind me a bit of a German puff pancake.

 

Aebleskiver BAebleskiver D

 

Materials needed: 1-3 Aebelskiver pans, hand electric mixer for egg whites, basting brush, nutmeg grinder, mixing bowls, measuring cups, spoons, spatula, turning utensil (skewer, chopstick, fork, etc.), pastry filling bag (optional)

Making the batter:  These fun “pancakes” allow for a lot of creativity and you can make them to fit your personal taste.  The batter fits perfectly with savory fillings such as meats or even vegetables as well as cheese, fruit or chocolate.  Here are some great recipes and filling ideas.  Click on the following link for some additional images of aebelskivers!

 

Aebleskiver GAebelskivers

 

Batter recipe:

3 eggs (separated)

2 T sugar

2 C. buttermilk (or 2 T vinegar mixed with milk to make 2 C.)  Using buttermilk makes the batter thicker, so we prefer using vinegar and milk.

2 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly grated nutmeg to taste.  Some recipes include cardamon and lemon zest as well.

*Melted butter (dribbled into the Aebelskiver pan holes before adding the batter)

 

Filling for Batter (option #1):

-Thin slices of apple, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Thin slices of Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch squares

 

Filling for Batter (option #2):

-Cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
-A spoonful of cherry or other tart-tasting jam

 

Filling for Batter (option #3):

-Half pound of minced bacon
-One medium onion, minced
-Pan fry together until bacon begins to crisp.  Drain and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Mixing and Cooking the Batter:

Mix egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a small dish.  Next, mix flour, soda and baking powder together.  Whisk flour mixture, egg yolks and buttermilk together in alternating amounts until all are incorporated.  Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into rest of batter.  When your Aebelskiver pan is hot, brush each indentation with butter, waiting for it to sizzle before adding the batter.  The stove burner should be on medium heat so they don’t scorch.  Each batch will take about 3 minutes to completely cook.  Traditionally, they were turned with a knitting needle, but you can use a skewer, fork or chopstick as well.

For unfilled Aebleskivers:  Fill indentations in the pan with batter, actually a bit above pan level.  When the batter begins to brown, run a skewer around the edge and then lift one side a quarter turn (like the picture below).  Let the batter set up and begin to brown.  Turn them again, so they are almost completely rolled over, domed and golden brown on top.  turn them several more times (every 15 seconds until the batter has formed them into complete spheres and all sides are nice and brown).  Use skewers to remove each ball from the pan and dust with powered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).

For filled Aebleskivers:   Fill holes in pan about 2/3 with batter, then put in your choice of fillings (recipes below).  Use a spoon or pastry bag to fill them.  Spoon additional batter on top until batter is just above the rim of each indentation.  After the batter has sat in the pan for about a minute and is starting to brown, run your skewer around the edges.  Use both skewers to help you flip them completely over.  Cook until they are browned on the other side (another minute or so), then remove with skewers and repeat with a new batch.  Lift Aebleskivers out of pan and dust with powdered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).

IMG_0074IMG_0077


Cooking another batch?  Make sure you butter the pan after cooking each batch so the dough doesn’t stick!

 

Aebleskiver Ha little caramel sauce?

Final Touches:  After a batch of Aebelskivers is finished, it is usually topped with something special.  A simple sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dab of whipped cream is always good.  In addition, Aebelskivers are delicious when served with jam or syrup- raspberry, blackberry and Swedish lingonberry being the most common.  If you really want to go for decadence, then serve them with the bourbon-caramel sauce, below!

 

Caramel Sauce Recipe:

1 stick of butter

2/3 C.  brown sugar

1/3 C. whipping cream

2 T. bourbon or whiskey   

Pecan AebleskiverIMG_2962small

The recipe we use most often for guests include filling option #1, accompanied by the above caramel recipe.  These are also the recipes Brady used during his 2013 cooking demonstration at the Western Montana Fair (Culinary Arts Building).  We hope you will enjoy trying these recipes in your own home!  Who knows, maybe you will even be inspired to try some new Aebelskiver creations.  Click on the following link for additional batter and filling ideas, as well as where to purchase an Aebelskiver pan!

If you’d rather just relax and have someone else fix you breakfast, think about booking a stay with us here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.  It is the perfect time of year for a mini winter wonderland vacation, so indulge a bit and enjoy!  If you are looking for a perfect gift for someone, you are welcome to visit our little store.  We have many Scandinavian items as well as plenty of local, Montana treasures.

 

Noteworthy News at Missoula’s Blue Mountain B&B: “Deer” Diary #1

Monday, August 5th, 2013

August 1, 2013

“Deer” Diary,                    more photos 9-26-05 042 small

This is the first of my entries about the activities here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.  I’m a spectator of sorts (or maybe that should be of SNORTS).  A lot goes on under my watchful eye on this beautiful mountain and I must say the two leggeds and their furry entourage are most entertaining at times!

I am just one of the many deer that frequently camp out just above the bed and breakfast.  There are some tasty plants here and sometimes we get through the gate to browse in the garden.  A few acres out of the twenty is supposed to be all fenced off, but we’ve lucked out for a while now.  It’s pretty nice that the bed and breakfast is a certified wildlife habitat because it means there is plenty of food, water and shelter for lots of living things to enjoy- me included!  When you count all of the land behind the bed and breakfast, including the Blue Mountain
Recreation area and Lolo National Forest, it makes up one of  the largest wilderness and forested territories in the West!  I’m glad I was born on this mountain, that’s for sure.

Depending on the time of year or even the time of day, you may catch a glimpse of one of us.  In the early spring, the two leggeds often see us casually munching on the hillside right above the inn.  If you happen to spot one of us on the hill, use a few clues so that you can figure out whether you are looking at a white tail or a  mule deer.  I won’t give away who I am, because it’s more fun to let you figure that our for yourself!  I do know that until a couple of years ago, it was rare for a person to see any mule deer in the area.  Sometimes our elk relatives come through the property as well, but they haven’t been seen for a while now.  I have heard bad news that many white tail have died off in parts of north eastern Montana because of a hemorrhagic disease that is transmitted by biting midges.  All of us wild ungulates (hoofed mammals) are susceptible, but it has hit the white tail the hardest.  I stay hopeful in thinking that we will escape this die-off that some scientists believe has increased because of wet spring conditions in certain areas.  The guests at Blue Mountain will be happy to note that this is not a transmittable disease from deer to humans and it doesn’t seem to greatly effect domesticated ungulates such as horses and cattle.Poppies near lodge

August has somehow crept upon us, which means the days are often in the 80′s or even 90′s, but the nights are cooling off.  The hillsides have dried out, but the golden hew of the native grasses look as lovely as the mid-day sun.  In the heat of summer, we have retreated a bit so it’s hard to catch a glimpse of us.  So far, we’ve kept the whereabouts of our fawns secret all season!

A few changes have taken place over the last few weeks:                   Morningside Red-Tailed Fledgling

*The fledgling red tailed hawks have begun to mature since we hear fewer of their juvenile cries.  Their presence is something the two leggeds look forward to every year!

IMG_0498 small*The honeysuckle flowers that had died back are now preparing for their final fall finale.  Varieties of daisies, poppies and lilies have put on quite a show and the glorious white hydrangea near the waterfall beckons people to relax and listen to nature’s music in the shade.       

Western TanagerLonicera ciliosa bloom

*The cherry trees have ripened and gone- Mrs. Robin lived up to her name again, robin’ all of the stores.  Each year she carries away most of the cherries and the moss from the waterfall, but the hidden nests found later when the trees have lost their leaves make it all worth while.  In addition to the robins, several elusive Western Tanagers were seen in the pine and fruit trees this year, a real treat for the guests who visit the bed and breakfast.  As for us, we wait for the apple crop to mature and hope that the gate will not yet be fixed!

Hummingbird on front deck -small

 

*The humming birds continue to come to the feeders, many of them this summer’s offspring.  Their numbers keep multiplying, partly due to their nectar sources.  The two legged innkeepers have kept the sugar content high throughout the year to ensure they are able to concentrate on their nesting needs.  Several years of consistent feeding means the hummers come back every year and the numbers multiply.  The varieties of plants that flower from spring to fall on the mountain and in the gardens certainly add to their diet.  They always seem happy zipping and darting from flower to flower.

*Many people seem to come and go throughout the summer season with different accents and interests, but all polite and intrigued by the wildlife.  The wild cottontail bunnies have been a real hit with the guests thus far.

 

Pistol Creekfishing guests- small

 

*Lovely kitchen aromas waft through the air, especially in the early hours of the morning.  I long for a taste of the the German puff pancake served with cinnamon and nutmeg spiced apple-huckleberry sauce.  The recipe is listed below if you’d like to try and whip it up in your own kitchen!

I’ll do some snooping around before my next “Deer” Diary Entry so I can share one of the newest breakfast additions from this summer.

Well, I guess this is the last of today’s tale, or is that tail?  It’s sure been fun doing some summer reminiscing, but now it’s truly time to high tail it up the hill even further before darkness settles in!

 

A TASTY BREAKFAST TREAT!Puff pancake 4-11-08 036 small

 German Puff Pancake with Apples & Wild Berries
(Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, LLP)

4 Eggs (lightly beaten)            1 C. Sugar                   
1 C. Milk                                2  t. Vanilla
1/4 t. Salt                             ½ t. Almond ex.
1 C. Flour                             4 T. Butter (divided)
1 T Butter                            2 apples (peeled and chopped)
2 T. Sugar                           1 C. Berries, half pureed
 ½ t Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  2t Corn starch
-Preheat oven to 400
-Put 9″ cast iron skillet on stove top and melt 1T of the butter
-Very lightly mix eggs, milk, salt, sugar and flour in a blender, or by hand with a whisk.
-When Butter is melted and hot, pour batter in and put in oven for 23-25 minutes.
 -While pancake is baking, melt rest of butter in a non-stick pan, add sugar, apples and spices.
    Cook on high for 3 minutes, then turn down to low and simmer for 5 more. 
-Add vanilla and almond extract, mix together and let sit on lowest setting. 
Remove pancake from skillet to a plate, top with apples and serve!    

 

Seasonal Changes at Missoula’s Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast

Monday, June 24th, 2013

rainbow

An INNside View!

 Seasons and Seasonings at Blue Mountain B&B:        

With summer almost in full swing, it’s fun to think back on the various seasons and what each one brings to Montana and to Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.  I never tire of the beautiful seasonal changes that western Montana offers to residents and visitors alike. Sometimes the changes are quite subtle, which has been the case this year with our transition from spring to summer.  Luckily, summer has crept upon us with a refreshing coolness.  The mountains and valleys are still green, the peaks are capped in white and the wildflowers are particularly lovely.  The rain has definitely been welcome and we hope it will continue from time to time in the next months so that the fire season doesn’t hit with such a bang.

red currents

*At the Inn:

Here at Blue Mountain B&B, the changing seasons bring delightful new views as well as new specialties to the table.  During the gardening months, fresh varieties of fruits and vegetables abound.  We take great care in preserving the bounty that the summer brings so that guests are able to enjoy fresh flavors throughout the winter months as well.  Some of our jam and jelly specialties include home made huckleberry-raspberry, apricot and red current.  Both of our sets of parents live on Blue Mountain as well and between the bunch of us we are able to grow a lot of the fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables ourselves.

 

*Locally grown products:     antipasta plate

If we can’t grow something at the B&B, then we often turn to Missoula’s Good Food Store and the local Clark Fork and Missoula Farmer’s Markets.  We especially love the fruit from Forbidden Fruit Orchard, the huckleberries which some of the Hmong families pick and the Dixon Melons.

As guests, you can enjoy both a Saturday morning market and and evening market during the warmer months of the year with vendors selling all kinds of things from produce and cheese to jewelry.  When the weather turns cold, Missoula takes it’s wares inside where people can enjoy a winter market on the weekends.  If you are interested in finding huckleberry or other Montana products, we have a lot to offer in our little Wood Ducks and More Country Store.  If you are looking for Montana made products in town, we recommend the following stores:  Brown Bear Resources and Mother Moose.

 

syringa and butterfly*A Room with a view:

Views from every room at the inn celebrate the changing of the seasons as each day brings a little something different than the next.  Even when the valley is fogged in, one has the sensation of being in a high mountain castle.  The views from our dining and living room areas are like a living picture frame, ever changing and beautiful.  During late spring, summer and early fall, the sound of the water fall accompanies views of the valley and the smell of a fresh, gourmet breakfast.

For me, winter brings the most wonderful feast for the eyes of any season.  There is nothing more beautiful than a soft dusting of snow covering the garden walls while the pond is bathed in the moon’s lovely light.  Then again, “summer’s snow” is just as spectacular when the lovely Syringa bushes blanket the hillsides in late June.  Their white, fragrant petals attract Swallowtail butterflies and for a couple of weeks, the hills truly smell heavenly.  June is truly a wonderful month to make a reservation specifically for The Syringa Suite, our room named after this fragrant flower.  The Syringa Suite has a private deck that adjoins the hillside, offering spectacular views of this flowering shrub as well as the water fall and koi pond below.

If you want to grow your own Syringa from some transplants, Blackfoot Native Plants Nursery and this link will help you get started!

*Deer hardy plantings and local nurseries:   sun screen install

Maintaining the house and grounds offer both Brady and me a change of scenery every single day.  The winter months involve quite a lot of driveway plowing which is one of Brady’s (and the dogs’) favorite activities.  He also loves any work that involves a mile-high view and a ladder.  At least it makes cleaning out the rain gutters and putting up new outdoor blinds interesting.  When our Godson or other family friends help out, it’s always fun to see how work starts to unfold into play!  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of sweat and “blood” that goes into creating new flower beds, pulling weeds and doing other odd jobs.  This year, in particular, we have re-done a lot of our flower beds and are trying to find deer hardy alternatives to some of the more tasty plants.  The work always seems worthwhile and truly enjoyable, especially when we treat ourselves afterward.  After a big day of work, we sometimes splurge by taking a couple of swings on the hammock, dipping our feet in the pond or enjoying some huckleberry iced tea- things usually reserved for our guests.plowing snow

Missoula has quite a few local nurseries that are really helpful when trying to find plants that are compatible with climate needs and personal tastes.  When looking for annuals, Caras, Earth and Wood, Marchies  and Ibey are always helpful.  Most of our perennials, along with our hanging pots, come from Benson’s Farms and Pink Grizzly which are part of the fun River Road Neighborhood.

While the summer involves planting and the winter plowing, spring and fall both involve a lot of ponderosa pine needle raking- one of my favorite activities.  It’s something that always calls for a hot dog roast if the weather cooperates and fire season is nowhere near.  If you’ve ever burned pine needles, it is actually quite mesmerizing.  The needles glow a beautiful red and then gradually disintegrate into nothingness.  The best part is that wonderful forest smell that allows me to “go camping” in my very own back yard!             

fire pit on deck

*Plan your Montana get-away:

No matter when you come to Blue Mountain Bed & Breakfast you are in for a treat.  Every season offers its own spectacular kind of beauty which both energizes and calms the mind, body and sole.  Whether you come for the winter skiing, a hike through the endless spring flowers, a summer float down a river, or an autumn ghost town tour, you will find beauty and fun wherever you go.  You are always welcome to call us for additional details (1-406-251-4457) or visit the Area Page on our website for a listing of Missoula events and activities.  There is nothing we enjoy more than helping people plan the perfect Missoula, Montana get-away no matter what time of year it may be!  You are welcome to follow us on Facebook where we post recipes as well as upcoming history, cultural and community events.  Come join us one way or another for a one of a kind Blue Mountain experience!     Fall wedding 2

 

Events at Missoula’s Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast- retreats, family reunions, weddings and non-profits!

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

One of the things we look forward to most here at our inn are all of the events we host.  There is something refreshing, vibrant and exciting about a group of people coming together and celebrating!  Whether it’s a small

winter wedding reception

winter wedding reception

wedding, a family reunion, a business or a church retreat, it’s thrilling to be a part of.

We’ve enjoyed numerous groups over the course of several years, each coming to our bed and breakfast for different purposes.  In some way or another, each group seems to find a sense of renewal and kinship during their stay with us.  It’s been especially rewarding to watch business meetings succeed in setting and writing goals that they wish to reach.  Having the ability to meet in a refreshing location where one is truly surrounded by nature seems to help the mind focus and re-juvinate.  I’m glad we’ve been able to play our part in helping a variety of groups succeed and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future.  Thanks, Lake Missoula Group (LMG Security), Unity Church of Missoula and others for making what we do here so rewarding!

One of our goals as innkeepers of Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is to help local non-profits flourish.  Through promotion and charitable gift giving, we hope to encourage the larger community in helping such worthy organizations give meaning to our lives here in Missoula.  Some of these groups never end up spending time at our bed and breakfast, but quite a few do.  This winter and spring, we’ve been honored to host events for several of our non-profit favorites or help them by contributing to their auctions or other events.  We make donations to additional causes, but the following non-profits have been priorities for us as of late.

Please let us know if we can help your family, business or non-profit in some way.  We would love to host your event and because we are such a small place, we are able to truly cater to your individual needs.  Groups of 5-15 for business meetings and up to 45 for weddings are our forte.  Feel free to visit our guest pages for additional information or to make a reservation.  Some of the things we offer here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast include:

outdoor wedding

outdoor wedding

Moroccan dinner by waterfalls

Moroccan dinner by waterfalls

  • Free Wireless internet
  • Projector and screen for powerpoint presentations or movie viewing
  • Sound system and bluetooth speakerphone
  • Tables, chairs, china and other amenities
  • Meeting space in either our Lewis and Clark Lodge facility or Hawk Hill House
  • Many indoor and outdoor sitting areas with spectacular views of the forest and water gardens, Missoula Valley and Bitterroot River
  • Twenty acres of wildlife habitat that adjoins Federal Land, including walking trails that connect to The Blue Mountain Recreation Area

Spring Bird Migration in Missoula, Montana- Feeding the Hummingbirds!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

DSCF3495 smallOne of the most delightful seasonal changes in Missoula, Montana occurs when the humming birds begin to arrive!  Here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, we mark our calendars and put food up in mid-April.  These little charmers mean that summer is just around the corner, or so we hope.  This year, the little fellows must think they arrived a couple of months early because Montana welcomed them with a blanket of snow.  I certainly don’t mean to be sexist when I throw the word fellow out there.  However scientifically, certain species of male humming birds migrate a bit earlier than the females in order to secure their territories.  Anyone who has spent some time around these birds can’t help but notice their territorial nature.  It’s interesting to note that unlike many other migratory bird species, hummingbirds are solitary and do not migrate as part of a flock or group.

 Here it is, the last day of April and the white cherry blossoms are covered over by a fairly heavy dusting of snow.  In fact, Brady swept off more than an inch of snow from our decks!IMG_2622 small

Well, welcome little wings of wonder.  Welcome to our winter wonderland of snow that drapes the trees in white and now blankets the hidden green of our valleys.  The sun is sure to shine down on us tomorrow.

Humming Bird Nectar Recipes:

To help our little friends sustain their energy, we use different sugar-water mixtures depending upon specific seasonal needs.

Blue Mountain B&B’s high energy mixture (early spring/fall):  Our first Humming birds begin to filter through Missoula by the 3rd or 4th week of April, but most of them are just passing through on their way north.  Whether they still have a distance to fly or are here to stay, they are exhausted… having lost as much as 25% of their body weight on the long trip.  They can use all the help they can get, especially during a year like this one!  During the first three weeks of the season, we put out a very high concentration of nectar, mixing 1 1/2 cups sugar with 2 cups of boiling water.  Studies of flower nectar sugar content have found concentrations as high as 60% and as low as 6%.  The lower concentrations are not enough to keep these little guys healthy and they have to feed far more often.  (The traditional concentration of 4 to 1 is the minimum to sustain the birds and maximizes people’s viewing pleasure, as they must come and feed between 10 and 14 times an hour.) With the near 1 to 1 ratio we set out when they first arrive, we help them replenish their strength, spend more time building their nests, or give them some additional calories for that final destination if they are just stopping by.  With such a high concentration, the birds need only feed between 4 and 6 times an hour.  Starting in September or late August, we again fill the feeders with this high energy nectar to give them a good head start on their migration back south.   in flight

 Blue Mountain B&B’s sweet, summer mixture:  Our summer mixture is still heavier than the traditional, being 1 1/2 cups sugar to 4 cups of water.  This gives the birds additional calories each time they feed so they do not have to feed as often.  During the summer, there are many natural nectar supplies on the mountain as well.  We have more than enough birds visiting our feeders for our viewing pleasure anyway, particularly considering the fact that so many of them are nesting, thus reproducing here on Blue Mountain.  A big advantage to feeding a higher concentration even during the summer is that it serves a larger population of birds and the re-filling time and effort is cut way down.


A FEW FUN FLYING FACTS:

Most North American humming birds have seasonal migration patterns, wintering in the south and nesting in the north.  The further a hummingbird must migrate, the sooner it must start its journey.  Rufous hummingbirds have the longest migration of any hummingbird species and remember, there are over three hundred species world-wide.  Only a few of those migrate, but still an impressive statistic.  It’s amazing to think that many of the rufous migrate between Mexico and Alaska.  This means they travel thousands of miles, not once, but twice in the same year!  We are wishing these little guys lots of luck right now as we see quite a few passing through.

Knowing more about hummingbird migration patters helps backyard birders, like ourselves, anticipate when certain hummers will arrive.  This is particularly important because they use up so much energy and we know from experience that blossoms and bugs can be pretty sparse this time of year.  Interestingly enough, migrating hummers are often very predictable in their patterns, arriving at the same yards and then continuing on their journeys within days during the same calendar period each year.  We count on them to brighten our warmer months, but most importantly, they may actually count on us!  (On a side note, if you wish to know more about the banding of hummingbirds in our area, the following is an interesting link.  Other hummingbird research-related topics are being conducted at The University of Montana.  Enjoy!)

There are many controversial topIMG_0426ics and myths out there related to hummingbird feeders.  The majority of reading material states many beneficial aspects of feeding humming birds, as long as certain standards are put in place!  Feeders can actually aide in the successful migration of these high metabolic bird burners.  Feeders do not discourage hummingbirds from continuing their migration, they simply ensure that they have a food source that can be counted on.  This is why placing feeders up in the early spring and continuing to keep them around in the fall is important.  It is exactly during these times that “beefing” up the sugar content in their food is so important.  It not only gives them the additional calories they need at this time, but the extra sugar helps prevent the solution from freezing.
To Perch or not to Perch?  What about the “HOT” Montana topic of perch hypothermia?  Well, my suggestion is to read several of the following, very interesting articles!

Another important topic of discussion is related to the use of red dye to attract humming birds?  Could the spelling of dye be interchangeable with die is some cases?  It’s something to think about carefully and read up on.  Is red coloring really necessary in order to attract hummers?  Remember, most feeders already have a splash of red on them which is usually more than enough.  If it’s hard for you to resist putting out that eye-catching red water, then try adding some natural berry juice to the sugar water instead!

BEAR, Beware:  remember to take your feeders in at night if you are in bear territory.  Some bears can become habituated to the sight of feeders, day and night.  In some areas, feeders may not be a smart choice at all.

A BIRD’S EYE VIEW:

Here in Montana, we begin welcoming back several different bird species in the early springtime.  Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is registered as a backyard wildlife habitat.  We have many forest birds that are here year round and others that come and go during the various seasons.  Our location, high above the valley floor, literally offers guests a bird’s eye view of their own as well as many on-site birding activities.  Not far from the bed and breakfast are many additional options for viewing birds in a variety of settings.  Five Valleys Audubon offers an entire list of great Missoula birding locations.  One of the closest locations is Maclay Flat, which is part of the Blue Mountain Recreation Area.  Just down the valley,  Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge is one of our favorite places to send guests.  We often take the half hour jaunt ourselves to enjoy the wide variety of waterfowl and other treasures “hidden away” in this part of The Bitterroot Valley.

It doesn’t matter what timeHummingbird on front deck -small of year you visit Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, you are certain to see many birds.  The spring, however is a particularly wonderful time for celebrating birds and everything that has to do with feathers.  The Bitterroot Audubon Society has a calendar of events posted and Montana Audubon has a list of local as well as state-wide events.  So bring your enthusiasm, your camera and your vacation plans to Montana.  We will help ensure that your trip is both wild and wonderful here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast!

We have many guest who spend time observing our various birds, but one summer in particular always comes to mind.  Several years ago, a surgeon stayed with us for an entire week.  He spent most of his vacation sitting on our front deck watching the many humming birds species feed!  It’s a daily reminder to me that sometimes the most satisfying things in life are pure and simple.

 

 

Scandinavian Heritage and Fjord Horse Fun in Montana, First Entry!

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

IMG_2184smallHere at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, we have a little bit of Scandinavian charm mixed in with our Western heritage.  From carpenter tools, antiques and stories handed down through the generations, to darling Christmas decorations and favorite children’s books, to our three precious Fjord horses, we celebrate our Swedish roots and the Scandinavian culture that has greatly impacted the West.

When a person has family roots that are truly embedded in an agricultural life style, it changes one’s perspective I suppose.  People who work the land get attached to it in a way that is unique.  They toil and sweat, but live life honestly and proudly.  They collect memories and pass down a life saving’s of meager farm implements and hands-on knowledge to their children and children’s children.  And, in the case of my great grandparents, when the soil can no longer even meet the most basic of family needs, they gather their most beloved things and start a new.

In our guest liIMG_2182 smallbrary, sits an America Trunk which came down through my father’s side of the family.  It still makes me weep to think about the generations before me, choosing between the most precious and most practical of items that would follow them to a new land.  They knew full well that only through a few tattered photos, would they ever see certain loved ones again or their Swedish family farmstead surrounded by lush meadows, forests and so many childhood memories.

I know that through those generations of tears, there was also much happiness that came from a true appreciation of family and hard work.  The family heirlooms that have been handed down to me have a very special place in my heart and home.  They give me a connection to the past that I otherwise would not have.  They also give me an appreciation for the little moments in life that are so precious and the knowledge that perseverance and even sacrifice often bring good things in the end!

I hope you will continue this journey with me from week to week (usually on a lighter note) as you get to know more about my favorite fuzzy Fjord companions as well as some very interesting historical tidbits that relate to early Scandinavian pioneers of the West

 

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See you next time.

Yours,

Elaine and the three Fjord buddies

Montana Owl Sighting on Blue Mountain: Are you a kid at heart, a lover of owls, mysteries and wisdom? If so, then you’ll find this blog to be a REAL HOOT!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Who, hoo-hoo was recently seen…

At Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast?kauai barn owlGreat Horned Owl dosLuna

                                                                                                         
GIVE A HOOT!  
Use the CLUES to help you CHOOSE!   Hint: it’s one of these three beautiful birds pictured above.

CATEGORIES & CLUES:
(Follow these clues to help you figure out
Who-hoo, hoo has been hangin’ at the inn!)

 

Category A.  Many Fine Friends
FACT:
Nestled on 20 acres of registered wildlife habitat, Blue Mountain B&B offers lodging to a variety of guests!  Along with people, migratory birds are actually among the most common guests at the bed and breakfast and birding is a favorite past time activity for many Blue Mountain visitors.
FACT:  There are quite a few permanent residents that call Blue Mountain their home as well.  One particular resident, who is often said to be both wise and whimsical, is spotted on various occasions.
Yep, you’re lookin’ at me baby!
And…  I’m lookin’ at YOU, Hoo, Hoo, too-  even though you probably don’t know it!

Clue #1:  Although I’m found throughout North America, I’m not a migratory bird.  I’m a home-body and not just an overnight guest.  I’m one of Blue Mountain’s long-standing fine Feathered Friends!
Clue # 2:  Because I’m a permanent resident, I’ve been seen several times in the past few years at the inn.  You are most likely to see me at dusk.

 

Category B.  Eye-ology…
FACT:
Unlike my other feathered friends, my eyes are adapted to my needs as a nocturnal predator!the eyes have it

Clue #3:  My eyes are large (almost human-sized).  Better to see you with, especially at night.
Clue #4:  My eyes are set in front of my head instead of to the side.  Better to find you with because…  I’m a predator looking for tasty prey.  If you’re a bunny you’d better get out of my way!
Clue #5: Some people say I look cat-like and wise as I stare forward into the night.  Only my head can rotate, while my eyes stare straight out ahead.

 

Category C.  Favorite Hang-outs at the Inn
FACT: 
This year I was first seen by Brady and Elaine on August 5, 2012.
Time: dusk    Habitat:  ponderosa pine forest. 
They used the following link to register their sighting and you can TOO hoo, hoo!

Clue #6: On several occasions, I’ve been seen on the archway and signs leading up to the b&b.  Where do you think I’ll be found next?
                     … WHO WILL next spot me?  Could it be YOU?

 

Category D.   Swift but Silent
FACT:
Elaine said the following about a relative of mine Whooo lives further up on Blue Mountain…

“One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had while hiking on the south side of Blue Mountain was to be followed by this species of owl.  Maybe I was too close to its nesting sight, I don’t know.   I remember hiking a few feet and seeing movement out of the corner of my eye.  I’d walk further and again I would be followed.  It was magical knowing that I was being watched from above the trees by a creature that made no sound what so ever.”

Clue #7:  I can fly silently from tree to tree even with a wing span of 44 inches!  If you ask me, this is quite the FEET for being one of the world’s largest owls.

 

Category E.  Breakfast for the Birds
FACT: 
It’s been said that Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast offers tasty treats to many different critters.

Clue #8:  I have a big appetite and find everything from beetles to bunnies quite tasty.

FACT:  Not to worry bed and breakfast guests!  Brady says that humans have more refined tastes, and one thing I know about your chef is that he aims to please!

Clue #9:  Remember, I’m a resident and have to find my own dinner.  Mice, birds and even skunks are on my menu.  Bet you’re glad they aren’t on yours.

 

Don´t mess with me!

Breakfast for the Birds!

Category F.  Who, Who?  It’s Your Final Clue
FACT:
  This is the only owl species that the innkeepers have actually seen on their property.

Clue #10:  I am not named according to my eyes, my size or where I might live, but rather by those interesting tufts on my head!

YOU GOT IT…   I’m Blue Mountain B&B’s very own   Gr___  ___ t        H___ ___ ___ ed    Owl!

 

Keeper of the Night

You emerge at dusk on silent wings
Owning the night with your unknown presence

               Eyes piercing through darkness, talons ready
                       Keeper of the forest and of knowledge

Keeper of magic and mystery, of darkness and of light
Perched among pine trees
               Bathed by the moon
                     Tonight, amongst shadows
The outwitted coyote goes hungry

                                             -Elaine Anderson-Wood (2012)

 

OWL WISDOM- additional fun-filled facts!

I.  Great things to know about GREAT HORNED OWLS:Great Horned Owl_2015

Learn more about Great Horned Owls from National Geographic.
Boggle your mind with information about Great Horned Owl biology.
Brush up on Great Horned Owl nesting facts.
See Montana State’s Great Horned Owl video.
Uncover what Montana Outdoors says about Great Horned Owls.

 

II.  Feelin’ Owlie?  Whooo’s Whoo?  GENERAL OWL INFORMATION:

Look at what our “neighbors” at the Ninepipes Owl Research Institute are doing.
Learn about the owl research that goes on at Conserve Montana.
Snowy Owls storm Montana!  It was in the news.
Photos by Kate Davis.  Enjoy a few shots here and then purchase one of her books in our gift shop or a local store.

 

III.  OTHER FINE FEATHERED FACTS:
Visit the large Montana directory of bird related information.
Enjoy some raptor reading and photos by local author and speaker Kate Davis at Raptors of the Rockies.
Bird Migration Celebration in Montana?  Yes, find out more information so you can go!
Montana Audubon Society- join the ranks.

 

 IV.   WET YOUR BEAK WITH SOME MORE TASTY POETIC TREATS:
Great Horned Owl by Karen C. Vanderlaan
The Owl by Edward Thomas
A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear
Owl Poetry for Children by The Reading Lady

 

Spend Your 2012 Labor Day Weekend at Our Missoula B&B

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Blue Mountain Bitterroot Room

Choose a gorgeous room with a view at our Missoula bed & breakfast during your Labor Day Weekend in Missoula, MT.

There’s still time to plan for a Labor Day vacation in Missoula. Book ahead at our quiet Missoula inn, nestled amidst the natural beauty of the Bitterroot River, yet only minutes from the fun and culture of Missoula. Choose from four uniquely decorated rooms of rustic elegance, gorgeous mountain and valley views and fine amenities. All rooms of our Missoula area inn have king or queen beds and private baths with jetted tubs. Free Wi-Fi and guest-use refrigerators are also available. But more importantly, your hosts Brady and Elaine are always happy to help you plan any details of your Labor Day weekend getaway.

The longer Labor Day weekend gives you time to explore some favorite Missoula area attractions. Spend a day hiking in Glacier National Park. Visit the Bison Range. History buffs love touring the local ghost towns, historic battlefields and following the Nez Perce/Lewis and Clark Trail. Hike, bike or horseback ride your way through history and through stunning landscapes of waters and mountains.

If town is more your style, take a few minutes’ drive to Missoula. Missoula’s restaurants, museums, fun shops and nightlife will give you a variety of sights, tastes and sounds to experience. Avid golfers will be pleased to know there are seven golf courses to choose from. While you’re here, you might as well try them all! If you’ve spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors around Missoula or walking around town, you might be feeling a little sore. In addition to helping you set up any other Missoula area activities, Brady and Elaine will also be happy to make a spa appointment for you. A relaxing massage is a welcome part of any vacation, whether it’s a few weeks off or a long Labor Day weekend!

After a day of playing or relaxing, your beautiful room with a view in our Missoula bed and breakfast will be the perfect place to relax in comfort.

If this sounds like a great way to spend the long Labor Day weekend, give us a call or check availability today!

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