Winter still has its icy grip on northwestern Montana, though things have begun to slowly thaw. Our little stream is now a proud creek, swollen with snow melt and hurriedly making its way downhill to Ninemile Creek. But, I still wonder if winter will ever go away. It is the coldest and snowiest it has been in Missoula in nearly fifty years.
I can’t wait for winter to pack its bags and leave. I’m not really a big winter person, but that is not the reason I want it to make a quick exit. We’ve got a deadline to meet or we’re homeless. Not landless, but homeless. At the present, we are in a temporary rental – a duplex in a small town outside of Missoula. We had agreed to be out by June or July, but now they want to move into the duplex sooner. So, we’ve got to be out by May. We’ll see if Old Man Winter decides to move out by then, too.
When we moved to Montana in December of last year, we were still a bit unsettled as to what we were going to do for living quarters once our short lease ran out. We had pretty much settled on the idea of buying a travel trailer, parking it in the shop and roughing it until we could get the house built. But, we reconsidered that option once we finally closed on the land and had a chance to get into the existing 30′ x 60′ shop and check things out. The shop had a about 1,100 square feet of space that had been used as a makeshift apartment and marijuana growing operation in the attic. We can refurbish this space into a small apartment for not much more than buying a new travel trailer and then we could have a space to house guests or to even rent out if we wanted once the main house was built. Also, having a more permanent structure will allow us to take our time on the house construction and not rush things financially.
It is peculiar that many of the people we have spoken to in Montana have done the same thing, that of building a shop/garage first or living in a shop until the house is done. It is as if it is some sort of Montana rite of passage. So, we’re going to get real cozy and live in a shop apartment. Fortunately, the duplex we’re in now isn’t much bigger, so it has helped us get prepared for close quarter living.
An interesting coincidence has provided us with a top-notch contractor. it is remarkable how this whole move has worked out, so many little things falling into place. Some would call it a coincidence, but I know that they are God’s little mercies as he opens doors to help get things done and provide for our needs. Turns out that my brother Robert married into the fine Stevenson family that produced Bryce and Brandon. They moved their families to Montana a little over a year ago. They own Stevenson Homes, building houses in Utah and I would guess soon in Montana. They happened to build my parent’s home and they do excellent work. Nice to have them as we knew no one in Montana before moving up here.
The Stevenson boys have already finished the demolition and started to frame up our little apartment. Though Old Man Winter still won’t let go, he can’t get inside the shop so we are thumbing our nose at him and getting started anyway. Hopefully, with a productive month of March, we can get the apartment well on its way to completion.
Lots of fun and excitement for our family these days. The kids have adjusted well to the move and are enjoying Montana. The school district we are in is very good and I’m so happy with this part of the move. It is so nice to see the kids get such great individualized attention. In another curious coincidence, our moving to Montana provided Quincy with a full-time aid, which has really helped him and provided a job for a wonderful person who needed it. Coincidence? I think not.
I have found living here to be a little more taxing from a travel point of view. Missoula is in the middle of nowhere and requires an extra flight than I am used to. This means a lot more early morning flights and late night arrivals. But, so far I haven’t been too bothered by it. I did get a bit homesick a couple of weeks ago. It was so fun to live within a block of Ben and Scott, so I have missed that and the many times we got together with my folks, in-laws and extended family. However, that will make the reunions that much sweeter and I’m looking forward to the fun times hosting family and friends at the farm in the months and years to come.