San Francisco Invokes Serious Rice-a-Roni Cravings

As any fool (who has been reading our Perplexing Times as of late) can tell you, we’re out on our latest vacation, and this time our “pop in” is to San Francisco. This is no surprise to anyone but me, but what is surprising has been my in-outing cravings for Rice-a Roni. It’s weird, really, I don’t even like rice. Continue reading San Francisco Invokes Serious Rice-a-Roni Cravings

When in San Fran, You Must Check Out the Trollys

San Francisco is rich in cultural heritage and history, at least inasmuch as it may be accredited to a city with less than three hundred years history. I’ve seen places in China with 6,000 years of history, but don’t take that as any discredit, the ding-ding-dinging trolley cars of San Francisco represent something more than an ancient and forgotten (or best forgotten) history, and therefore, when the trollies go ding-ding-ding, so goes us tourists. Continue reading When in San Fran, You Must Check Out the Trollys

Winchester Mansion a Must-See American Icon

If you are going to take a trip to San Francisco (or live in the area in the first place), you owe it to yourself to take a quick trip down to San Jose. Not just because it’s a funny name for a city, because the city itself isn’t as funny as the funny sounding name might lead you to believe, but because it’s got almost as much history as San Francisco has itself, and there’s no greater history (or mystery) to be found than the architectural singularity of the former home of the reclusive plutocrat Sarah Winchester who built the fabled Winchester Mystery House, formerly known as Sarah’s house. Continue reading Winchester Mansion a Must-See American Icon

Jessica and the Swift Fox

Swift fox family living in Montana

Montana is used to having fugitives chased by the authorities in their forests and prairies. But this article is not about some big burly tough guy averting law enforcement; it is about the hunt, for a small elusive fox to find out if they still exist in Eastern Montana, by a demure looking young woman.

A big buck tripped the shutter on the camera just as he came into range

Jessica Alexander, who much like Evelyn Cameron ending up taking beautiful pictures of people, landscapes and animals, came to Eastern Montana with the good intentions of chasing the swift fox with her cameras, She is has also been taking pictures of the land, people and the animals to be found around taken by those same cameras she uses in her extensive swift fox research.

Jessica Alexander setting up the camera in her quest to catch the swift fox in action

On a cloudy, rainy day in early June 2011 Jessica Alexander walked into the Badlands Café and Scoop Shoppe in Terry, Montana with a laptop and some notebooks under her arm. Being very inquisitive, some might call it nosy, I introduced myself and asked what she doing in Terry. Jessica replied she was homeless and came into use our Wi-Fi connection for her laptop.

Jessica then proceeded to tell me she is on a master’s graduate project with Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota to determine the status of the swift fox population in Eastern Montana.

In 1806 Meriwether Lewis described the swift fox in his journal as: “The most beautiful fox that I ever beheld”. The swift fox population in Montana all but disappeared after eating the same strychnine poison being put out to kill coyotes in the early 1900’s. The swift fox was trapped in Canada for their fur and were much in fashion with the ladies in those days. They are scavengers and usually feed on rodents, birds and road kill.

Now it has been put up to Jessica Alexander to gather information, which will be used in the management of the species in Montana, for a study being conducted in cooperation with the between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. A family of swift foxes were replanted at the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and the Blackfeet Tribe reintroduced swift foxes on their lands between 1998-2002.

Wild fox research includes camping and roughing it in the outdoors

The swift fox has a light orange hue but was called “yellow fox” by pioneers, who marveled at the animal’s inquisitive nature. It is named for its lightning speed, which can reach nearly 40 miles an hour in a sprint. The swift fox has the unique distinction of being the smallest canine in North America, weighing just 5 pounds, about half that of a red fox, and standing roughly 12 inches tall.

Jessica is trying to catch “Swifty” in the act by placing cameras near their suspected dens and hangouts but so far to no avail. For this article Jessica shared some of the many pictures of other wildlife caught in their natural habitat with her cameras.

The Andy Pehl ranch on 10-Mile Road in Terry, Montana was used as one of the sites after Jessica trailed a red fox to its den and caught some of the denizens curiously peeking at her while she installed her cameras.

A red fox caught peeking at one of Jessica's cameras

Jessica is currently traveling between Miles City and Sidney setting up her cameras in the hopes of catching on camera and proving the swift fox is alive and well and living in Eastern Montana.

About the Author – Bob van der Valk lives in Terry, Montana is a Petroleum Industry Analyst with over 50 years of experience in the petroleum, gasoline and lubricants industry. He has been quoted by the news media and his opinions are also solicited by government entities. You can reach Bob at: or (406) 853-4251

Evelyn Cameron Heritage “Chair-ity” Silent Auction

Rialto Theater circa 1989

The Evelyn Cameron Heritage “Chair-ity” Silent Auction will be held from May 16 through 25, 2011

The Chair-ity is a unique community-wide silent auction fundraising event for the Evelyn Cameron Heritage – Rialto Theater improvement project.

From May 16 through 20, 2011 six chairs, decorated by Prairie County artists and their families, will be on display at the Stockman Bank in Terry, Montana.

Typical decorated chairs to be auctioned off by 3 pm May 25, 2011

The silent auction will close on May 25 at 3:00 pm and last bids will be allowed to be either called into Glenda Ueland at (406) 635-2126 or in person at the Sassy One Clothing Store in Terry, Montana up until that time. All proceeds of the Chair-ity Silent Auction will go directly towards funding for the Evelyn Cameron Heritage – Rialto renovation project in Terry, Montana.

Pictures of the decorated chairs will be published on the Evelyn Cameron web site at: or posted on the Sassy One Clothing Store FaceBook page.

Glenda Ueland
Terry, Montana
(406) 635-2126

Bay’s Boudin Bistro Boasts 150 Yrs of Being Awesome

If you’re laying your day in the historically touristy hotbed of San Francisco’s waterfront, you’ll want to catch everything from Pier 39 to Pier 43 to even Pier 45. Somewhere in that mix is Fisherman’s Wharf, but it’s no matter because by this point you’re already hungry, and I’ve got just the place for you. It’s called Boudin Bakery (plus bistro, restaurant and museum) and it’s got an age-old history of fresh bread dating back a billion years. Continue reading Bay’s Boudin Bistro Boasts 150 Yrs of Being Awesome

Historic Mansions Rare on the California Coast, but Worth It

For those of you who don’t regularly read my tales of woe and woah, I’ll just tell you that I still live at home. Now that I’ve looked around at house prices I remember why, prices are crazy!

I’ve found a bunch of places I’d like to live. Theme parks, playgrounds and now I add to the list historical mansions. With unemployment up and the deficit climbing, one axiom I’ve found infallible is that cool housing is priced way out of reach. Continue reading Historic Mansions Rare on the California Coast, but Worth It