As Winter ends and Spring begins, hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese flock to Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area located off Hwy 89 between Fairfield and Choteau, Montana. It is about 40 miles northwest of Great Falls. Early Spring of each year, Snow Geese from the Gulf Coast States gather there. This is an annual rest-stop for the ambitious birds on their flight north to Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada.
The Vernal Equinox, March 20th, officially marks the first day of Spring. With our work week completed, Bill and I thought that we would celebrate the start of Spring with a close-to-home road-trip. We had our grandson Nate with us, who is almost 14 months old. Nate continuously chatters in “toddler talk”and is a great little traveler.
This year, Spring awoke by shaking off some of Winter’s chill. It was about 55° as we left Great Falls around 6:00PM headed for Freezeout Lake. We started to see sporadic flocks of Snow Geese overhead as we neared Fairfield.
Geese are quite vocal. As we drew closer to Freezeout Lake, their voices were greatly amplified. From the main road, we could see that a field of golden wheat next to the lake seemed to have large patches of snow on it. We turned off of the main road driving next to the field, as a flock of Snow Geese flew in seeking out a landing spot. It surprised us when the “snow” shuffled around and moved closer to us. As we watched in awe, we realized with each new flock that arrived, the birds on the ground moved deeper into the field making room for them.
We were a little curious as to how Nate might react to such a large number of loud birds. At first he just stared at them. Then he started laughing and ‘toddler-talked’ to them as loud as he could each time they shuffled around or when a new flock flew overhead. It was an amazing experience for all of us. We told his parents how much fun we had on this adventure. They too wanted to see the feathered celebrities, so they took him back then next morning. They drove down to the boat docks for a closer look. They too agreed that this is something well worth seeing.
Although much of the lake was still frozen on this trip, we realized how beautiful it was. Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area is a great place for a fun-filled family adventure. After all, it’s not just for the birds!
Visit http://www.fwp.mt.gov for more information on Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area.]]>
It’s been less than a year since I first visited The Limelight and my black thumb has turned green! After getting the correct nutrients and soil, my grandson and I are very proud of our Thai Pepper Plant that started as a seed! I now have a large Ivy, and a Jade Tree that also are thriving. I thought that this was a good time to say “Thank you Lime Light!”
One thing about Great Falls, Montana is that we have a much shorter gardening season than many areas. This year is no exception, as some ‘Spring snow and high winds’ swept away several newly planted flowers and beat up my Greek Oregano. If you are fortunate enough to produce any vegetables or herbs, often the rabbits, deer or other animals get to them before you and your family can enjoy them.
My family teases me because I tend to bring indoor plants home to their funeral, so to speak. So, always seeking knowledge, when I saw that a new place had opened up in town that specified in indoor gardens, I was intrigued. The Lime Light may be the answer to my garden needs!
The Lime Light is owned and operated by Cody Bachall and Karissa Goodrich and is located at 504 Central Avenue West in Great Falls, Montana. Both Cody and Karissa are very knowledgeable about indoor growing needs for the beginner that wants a few house plants to the big business owner that needs numerous or larger plants in their offices and businesses. When asked what was the most sought after product and information, they both simultaneously said nutrients and soil.
The Lime Light is an authorized Hydrofarm Distributer. They carry Fox Farm fertilizers, HPS and MH Bulbs, Ballasts, Reflectors, Organic Plant Foods and Nutrients. They also handle Power Cloners, Hydroponics, Aeroponics & the new Bubbleponic systems. In addition to Karissa and Cody assisting you, they have several books for sale including ‘The INSATIABLE GARDNER’S GUIDE – How to Grow Anything & Everything Indoors Year ‘Round by Susan M. Brackney.
Like most things that are good for us, organic food gets costly, so why not grow your own? Not only is it healthy, it is a fun learning experience for the entire family.Just like people, food and environment effect the outcome all living things. If you want to things to grow right, shop at The Lime Light!]]>
This year, Spring in Great Falls, Montana started out at -4° and snowing. For me, that meant it was time to be inside thinking about warm weather road trips. I may have to wait for the flooding to end, as things warmed up rather quickly, but going down memory lane always gets me in travel mode.
During the summer of 2010, Bill and I took a fantastic road trip through parts of Southwestern Montana. We had reservations that evening for a night of comedy with “The Brewery Follies” playing inside Virginia City’s Gilbert Brewery. We headed South on Hwy. 287, with rolling plains to the East and the Tobacco Root Mountains to our West. The color splashes surrounding the entire drive were amazing!
Getting closer to our destination, we passed through the towns of Harrison and Norris (home of the unique “Norris Hot Springs”). As evening drew closer we stopped in the town of Ennis, where we had reservations at the Fan Mountain Inn, only 14 miles shy of Virginia City. Rooms fill up quickly in this vacation hot spot, so reservations are recommended. The rooms at the Fan Mountain Inn are invitingly clean and comfortable. The owners and operators are very friendly and attentive. At the office, look for a welcoming tail wag from the loving family dog peeking over the half-door behind the counter. Some of these quaint towns offer rental cabins, motels and campgrounds. If you travel via RV, there are several choices including a KOA Campground in Alder, which is only 9 miles from Virginia City.
We arrived at the Gilbert Brewery early enough to watch as the staff opened the doors, worked the Will Call window, took tickets at the door, ushered guests to seats, took drink orders, and bar-tended. Then, the lights flickered and we realized that “the staff” and the Brewery Follies actors were one and the same. They shut the doors and the bar, removed their aprons and effortlessly went from serving us to entertaining us. The show was edgy, free from political correctness and hilarious! This is definitely a show for the adults, surprisingly void of a night of ‘F bombs’ and other cursing, yet full of naughtiness! Every seat lets you enjoy the show, but I warn you, sitting front row center may get you more attention that you planned for… you may become part of the show!
At intermission, the performers are once again the ‘Staff’ taking orders and serving up drinks. After the finale, the cast mingles with the guests, encouraging everyone to continue the fun at one or more of the local nightlife spots such as The Bale of Hay Saloon.
Entering Virginia City by day compared to night felt like we were in two different places. The nightlife was a very modern 21 and over crowd. Daylight created a time warp, and we found ourselves in a place where the 186o’s are alive and well. It is home to over 100 historic buildings, taking you back in time with their authentic furnishings and artifacts. Many have posted information and photos of their establishments dating back to when they were built, and what businesses have passed through them over time. The stories are fascinating. If only those buildings could talk! Many of the town’s residents believe that they can. Many say that the living are not the only residents. Outlaw Café and Antiques believes matter-of-factly that the playful spirit of a little girl resides there. Decide for your self by stopping by. For more possible ghostly encounters Virginia City offers a guided Ghost Walk.
Like many families, we spent the day playing tourists, going through all of Virginia City’s shops. Cousin’s Candy Shop is a favorite by kids of all ages. Baskets and jars of taffy’s, chocolate, licorices and hard candies surround you. The shops centerpiece is the glassed-in section of hand-dipped chocolate candies and homemade fudge. They make a delicious honeycomb candy that is a favorite of mine. It is a crunchy sweet honey flavored bar, thickly dipped in dark or milk chocolate. Each chocolate covered crunchy bite dissolves in your mouth! For me it is Heavenly decadence.
There are a couple of places offering Old Time Photos. We were drawn to Wallace Street Photographic Emporium, located at 208 Wallace Street, where we had a blast posing for pictures.
Another way for the family to jump back in time is to take a 25 minute ride on the Virginia City Overland Stagecoach, starting at the West end of Wallace Street, directly across from the Fairweather Inn.
Many of the employees throughout town set the mood by working in period costumes. If you want to purchase a piece from the past, Ranks Mercantile will have it. They carry a large variety of sizes in men’s, women’s and children’s old west frontier clothing and Victorian clothing and accessories. On an earlier trip Bill purchased a chocolate brown Bowler hat there that went well with his brown duster. Per Wikipedia, it is a hard felt hat with a rounded crown originally created in 1849, for the British soldier and politician Edward Coke. Per me, it’s a sexy hat that makes me turn my head for a second look. It is such a classic look.
In Spring of 1863, Gold Fever broke out. This caused a need for trade and a desire for adventure. Virginia City is the only survivor of those main “Cities” created during the beginning of the 1863 Gold Rush in Montana.
Currently, Virginia City is the largest and first of three towns strung together along Alder Gulch, also called Alder Creek. It is followed by Nevada City, and Alder.
During season, Nevada City becomes a restored outdoor museum. It is complete with numerous refurbished buildings and allows you to get close and personal with trains at the Alder Gulch Short Line Railroad, and at the train museum. Behind the dusty antique glass windows of the museum, are several re-furbishing projects underway. The wood and iron works of the old trains are very intricate. The photo I took of Bill in his new bowler looks like he stepped back in time and is waiting to board. The railroad wasn’t running while we were there, so that is something we have to look forward to on a future visit.
If you are looking for a fun-filled trip, the close communities of Virginia City, Nevada City, and Alder have something for everyone! When you visit the fun places I’ve mentioned, make sure to tell them that Karen, from Because I Can In Montana, suggested the trip!
Here are links for some of the places we visited on our trip.
New ownership, new attitude, new food and new entertainment adds up to
Great Falls newest establishment!
Sitting high on Gore Hill is one of the best places we’ve found in Great Falls! No longer 22,000 Square feet of empty building… it is now home to one of the greatest places to go for food, fun and entertainment in all of Great Falls! Old Skyline opened up it’s doors on March 11, 2009 to a full house! We were there two of the three nights of opening weekend. I immediately knew I loved the place and wanted to photograph and write about it. Owner Jennifer Gruber and Business Partner Billy Johns were kind enough to allow me to take some pictures one morning in April. Knowing this would be the only time that the place wasn’t packed, I took advantage of this opportunity so I could share the actual beauty and craftsmanship of Old Skyline. I have placed them in the photo Gallery.
When you walk into the main level, the first thing you notice is an enormous horseshoe bar. It reaches out 50 feet for a full 100 foot horseshoe bar. There are 11 50″ HDTV’s on the main level providing a variety of sporting events for your entertainment.
Old Skyline hosts a very impressive dance floor On one wall there is a beautiful mural painted by Artist Linda Ballantine. The back wall is fully mirrored. Live music keeps the place hopping on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Nights. They opened March 11, 2009 to a full house with The Cold Hard Cash Show, a local celebrity that always draws a crowd. Then on March 12th and 13th, Wurlitzer continued to keep the dance floor full. Wanting to keep things fresh, ach week a new band is in the spotlight playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night. Check out past, present and future dates on my events calendar to see who’s been there and who’s coming soon. If you are interested in performing contact Sharon Moore at MPACTALENT.com (409) 287-2772. They have provided several up and coming stars, including some right out of Nashville, such as Nathan Dean, Southwind 2, Christian Bradley, Zero Echo and Lucas Hoge to name a few.
At the solid end of the horseshoe bar and on the side opposite of the dance floor are tables that seat approximately 200. Located at the opposite end from the entrance are large windows showing off the most gorgeous view of Great Falls. There is a covered deck that you can sit at or for a quarter utilize the large telescope to pinpoint something that catches your eye. This view at night is amazing. The pictures I took were during the day. If you want to see Great Falls lit up like a sea of gold, visit there after dark and see it for yourself. It truly is a spectacular view! What a delightful place for you to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends and family. Notice the word family. From 7:00AM to 9:00PM all ages are welcome.
As for the food, my oh my! If you like BBQ, real Southern BBQ, this is THE PLACE to go! They specialize in a variety of steak, chicken, pork and seafood. The shrimp is flown in fresh from Georgia and is grilled or fixed in a light batter if it’s fried. My husband Bill says it is some of the best he has ever had! Unfortunately I am allergic to shrimp (and walnuts by the way) so I haven’t tried it. We both enjoy the smoky flavor in the variety of foods there. All of their BBQ selections are hand rubbed in their secret blend of spices and smoked to perfection! My favorite meal there is from the Grill. It is the Pecan-encrusted Salmon! The flavor truly makes my taste buds dance! They have an appetizer there called The “Bites Back Trio” with Bison, Gator and Lobster bites served with a variety of dipping sauces . It is definitely something you won’t find anywhere else in town! They also offer a Little Shrimp Menu. My grandson devoured the homemade Mac and Cheese!
On April 30, 2009, the Bartender Stacy gave us a sneak-peek tour of the downstairs. On May 1, 2oo9 this portion was opened to the public. It too has a windowed wall with that breathtaking view of Great Falls. The only original item downstairs is the Shuffleboard table, now ready for play. There are 20 more 50” HDTV’s downstairs, along with 6 pool tables and 4 dart boards. They will be arranging tournament play in the near future. Also opening soon are gaming rooms ranging from intermediate to high stakes games possible.
Old Skyline is located at 2401 Airport Way in Great Falls, Montana. This fantastic place is open daily from 7:00AM – 2:00AM. Breakfast is served from 7:00AM to 11:00AM; Lunch is served 11:00AM to 3:00PM; Dinner is served from 3:00PM to 9:00PM. After 9:00PM finger food is available.
This a such a wonderful addition to Great Falls. Gather your friends and head to Old Skyline! When you get there, make sure you tell Jennifer or Billy Johns that Karen from BecauseICanInMontana.com suggested it with 5 Stars!]]>
On September 8, 2010, the Skyline Club and 104.9 The Wolf
Proudly Present Darryl Worley!
Reserved Seating $30
General Admission $15
(A portion of the proceeds will go to Wounded Warriors of Iraq/Afghanistan)
The show starts at 8:30pm
Pre-Party starts at 5pm
Doors open at 7pm
Tickets available at
The Skyline Club, located at:
2701 Old Airport Road in Great Falls, Montana
(406) 268 – 9617
NOTE: THE SKYLINE CLUB CLOSED IT’S DOORS IN 2011]]>
While enjoying the races you can visit the concession stands for some good snacks and ice cold pop and beer! If you are taking younger fans, make sure to look for the kids club booth. It has all sorts things for the kids from candy to toy cars, at reasonable prices so everyone’s happy!
Gates open at 6pm and the races begin at 7pm. There are some special events that begin earlier. Check the ELECTRIC CITY SPEEDWAY schedule for specifics. Schedules are tentative, depending upon weather.
Adults $9 —Youth $6 — Kids 6 -12 $1 — Under 6 and over 70 ADMITTED FREE!
Gather up your family and friends and come on out to the races! Electric City Speedway is located at 2801 Old Havre Hwy in Great Falls, Montana. (406) 727-4884.]]>
The 59th Annual Algeria Temple Shrine Circus comes to Great Falls, Montana for 5 shows in 2 days. The Shrine Circus was founded in 1906 and travels in over 100 cities throughout the United States and visits about 40 cities in Canada.
On Friday, April 2, 2010 there are 2 shows. The first one is at 4pm and the second one is at 7:30pm. On Saturday, April 3, 2010 the showtimes are 11am, 3pm, and 7pm.
Tickets are on sale at the Circus office 610 9th St N, Kaufman’s Menswear at 411 Central Avenue, and Big Sky Imprints on the 2nd level of Holiday Village Mall. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children age 2 to 12. Advance tickets give you a $1 discount.
Click here for more information on Shriner’s International.
Click here for Shrine Circus ‘Kid Stuff’ including printable coloring & activity pages.
UPDATE: Visit the PHOTO GALLERY for a few of my favorite events from this year’s Shrine Circus!]]>
Once we were back on Hwy 200, we glimpsed a sign that said something about Grizzly Encounter. A little further up the Highway, we turned off to the left at the Lincoln Ranger Station. In 2007 a grizzly was hit by a pick up truck. The huge 830 lb grizzly stood about 8′ tall, has been mounted and is on display there. Unfortunately for us, the Ranger Station is closed on weekends. I did place the camera up to the glass and take a couple shots of this enormous creature! We plan on going there during the week for a more up close and personal learning experience at the Ranger Station.
The town of Lincoln is about the half-way mark between Great Falls and Missoula, making it a required stop to stretch and shop at the High Country Trading Post, part of Hi-Country Snack Foods, Inc. The Hi Country Trading Post located across from the actual plant is, where you can taste a large variety of Jerky and Meat sticks to help decide which ones you can’t live without! They also sell the creamiest fudge in several delightful flavors, and gifts ranging from clothing to various items made in Montana.
Back on the road, beauty surrounded us. Again, we were on the look out for more wildlife. We saw several antelope and white tails, but none as close as our earlier encounter with the Elk. Once we were in Missoula itself, we did a little shopping. Our first stop was at Aspen Sound, located at 1300 W. Broadway. They have a great selection of car stereos and an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly staff. We left with an installed stereo and more $$ left over in our wallets than we expected.
We did a little shopping at the Southgate Mall and then deciding to venture on down the road to Hamilton and had dinner at a little Mexican spot called The Sundance Cafe, located at 900 U.S. Hwy 93. It was a great place to have a nice relaxing dinner before heading back to Great Falls.
The drive home after dark was beautiful. The star-filled sky encouraged us to pull over and take it all in a few times on the way home. Although I personally may never be completely cured of cabin fever, this road trip helped ease the pain!]]>
How can I describe them… Kinda Dave Matthews meets Crowded House. Tanner Cundy is a Cornish-born, left-handed, upside-down guitarist and singer will make you forget all about Marshall Stacks and Fuzz boxes! Tonight, Tanner was playing with a very accomplished sax player by the name of Noah (The pride of Billings) Peterson. They do a lot of very good original material, and when they do a cover, they really make it their own, which is a nice touch. They did a very good cover of ‘Message in a Bottle’, slowed way down to the point that the song takes on a real haunting quality. Haven’t heard a version of Message done that well since I heard Sting do it for “The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball” back in the early MTV days. They also did very cool Tracy Chapman and Bruce Hornsby and the Range’ covers’.
They just released a 5-song CD called ‘King and Queen’. In fact, I’m listening to it right now. Definitely worth the couple of bucks to pick it up when you see the band (It’s also available for digital download at Tanner’s MySpace page, http://www.myspace.com/tannercundy, and at tannercundy.com.
They’re playing at Bert & Ernie’s in Great Falls Friday night, and then it’s on to Billings for 2 nights, playing at The Railyard Ale House Saturday night, and then at Walker’s American Grill (It’s a Special Guest Appearance) before moving on to Idaho, and then home to Portland, Oregon.
I’m still groovin to the CD… See you there at Bert & Ernie’s]]>
NOTE: THE SKYLINE CLUB CLOSED IT’S DOORS IN 2011]]>