Friday, June 29, 2012

Changes at the Moon-Randolph Homestead

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

After nearly five years as the caretakers of the Moon-Randolph Homestead, the Smetanka family has announced it's moving on. There's a party to celebrate their time there, as well as a fundraiser for the next caretakers, tomorrow, Saturday, at 2 p.m. They're asking for a $5 donation and to bring side dishes, potluck-style.

With the transition comes an opportunity to look back at what it's like to live on the homestead. In 2008, Andy Smetanka wrote an award-winning account for the Indy of his first months tending to the property. You'll find tales of stolen eggs, pillaged gardens and something nasty killing all the chickens. Living off the land sounded anything but easy, but it also provided a strong sense of connection. This passage seems especially appropriate:

Peering inside the converted chicken coop where the last Randolph had lived alone for almost 40 years, I could hardly have guessed that the woman I’d barely started dating would someday give birth to our second child in the same room. Now I don’t remember what life was like before and I dread the thought of ever leaving. I tell people that the kids will burst the timbers of the house before I’m ready to leave. I just hope they carry this place with them forever when we finally do.

Read the full story here.

Photo by Chad Harder

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Happiest Hour: Missoula Black & Tan

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:09 PM

About a month ago, beer enthusiast Rod Austin was home barbecuing with his family. Two of his favorite local beers, the KettleHouse’s Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and Big Sky’s Summer Honey, were in front of him. The Cold Smoke he’d often found too dark, especially with barbecue. The Summer Honey is light, both in flavor and alcohol content. He thought, “What the hay, why not mix ’em?”

He loved it. So much so that he hasn’t had one of the beers by itself since. On the Grizzly Growler blog he called it “Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever experienced.” He’s been going to bars around town and spreading the word. He says nine samplers out of 10 approve. The only disagreement is what to call the blend.

Austin thinks “Cold Honey” is a good name. But he says folks at The Central in downtown Missoula seemed to prefer “Summer Smoke.” Others like “Missoula Black and Tan.” And Austin can’t help but plug “Austin Ale.” Regardless, he thinks this concoction has legs.

He says the two beers don’t separate like a typical black and tan, at least not quickly; he hasn’t waited long enough before drinking one to see. “But I think that’s what makes it so great—that they don’t separate, and the two mix in such a way that is harmoniously delicious.”

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail

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The Rockies Today, June 29

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Body found in one of 346 homes burned by Colorado wildfire
Colorado Springs officials said human remains were found in one of the 346 homes burned in the Colorado community by the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is now 16,750 acres in size and is 15 percent contained.
Denver Post; June 29

President issues federal disaster declaration in Colorado
President Barack Obama is scheduled to get an on-the-ground look at the damage caused by the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs today, and on Thursday, he issued a federal disaster declaration for areas burned by that fire and the High Park Fire near Fort Collins.
Boulder Daily Camera (Longmont Times-Call); June 29

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two weeks to Best of Missoula

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Consider this the official beginning of our Best of Missoula countdown.

In two weeks, on July 12, we'll unveil the people, places and things Indy readers deemed tops in our neck of the woods. Sources tell us this year includes some noteworthy upsets, and if you voted you already know our 2012 version includes new categories like Best Dish and Best Gynecologist.

In addition to the weighty printed paper detailing all those honorees, we'll also be hosting a little party at Caras Park with food, drinks, live music and some family friendly activities.

Here's the lowdown on that soiree:

Best of Missoula Party
July 12, 5:30 p.m.
Caras Park
Music from
Tom Catmull & the Clerics
David Boone & D A W N S

As Best of Missoula gets closer, check out the Indy blog for looks back at past winners.

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Pachyderm punks hit the road

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM


Holy DIY, Batman! Local punk band King Elephant is loading up the Econoline after their show tonight at Zoo City Apparel, forsaking Montana for the perils of the great American Interstates.
They raised a few thousand dollars on Kickstarter (hey, didn't we just write about that?) to fund a month of touring and a documentary featuring the band, the tour, and the national DIY scene. The boys will crisscross the U.S. from Portland to NYC and back through the end of July supporting their new LP, Exhaust. You can pick up a copy of that tonight, of course.

Here's one of my favorite songs of theirs; count on it being stuck in your head for a while:

Head to Zoo City Apparel at 7 p.m. to bid them farewell — they won't be back 'til July 31.

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The Rockies Today, June 28

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds most of 2010 Affordable Health Care Act
In a 5-4 decision handed down on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld nearly all the provisions of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, including the mandate that all Americans have health insurance.
Salt Lake Tribune (AP); June 28

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Rockies Today, June 27

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal appeals court OK's EPA rules on greenhouse-gas emissions
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously backed the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
New York Times; June 27

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's "Free Will Astrology" online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you play solitaire, your luck will be crazy strong in the coming weeks. If you have candid, wide-ranging talks with yourself in the mirror, the revelations are likely to be as interesting as if you had spoken directly with the river god or the angel of the sunrise. Taking long walks alone could lead to useful surprises, and so would crafting a new declaration of independence for yourself. It’ll also be an excellent time to expand your skills at giving yourself pleasure. Please understand that I’m not advising you to be isolated and lonely. I merely want to emphasize the point that you’re due for some breakthroughs in your relationship with yourself.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happiest Hour: Tamarack's Bloody Mary Bar

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 5:56 PM

The Fourth of July is still a week out, but we're not exactly the sorts to refrain from celebrating early. As far as we're concerned, we get two weekends to party in honor of the old Red, White and Blue. Which means we'll probably be needing a boost come Saturday morning. Fortunately we found just the thing.

This week: Tamarack's Bloody Mary Bar

Why you’re here: It’s Saturday morning, and Friday night refuses to release its hold. Headache, nausea, a mild loss of self respect—fresh veggies and a trickle of vodka sound like the only good reasons to get out of bed. So you head down to Tamarack Brewing and promptly realize you aren’t alone. The place is packed, for one good reason...


What you’re drinking: A Bloody Mary of your own making. Last fall, with the onset of Griz football season, Tamarack began offering a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. For $6, a bartender hands you a pint glass of Absolute vodka and basically tells you to go nuts: asparagus, peppers, carrots, celery, the bar’s own specialty mix. As Tamarack’s Kara Funk puts it, the Bloody Mary is “the hangover cure of Missoula.” And this is Missoula’s only DIY operation.

Who’s helping you: The Bloody Mary bar features not only Tamarack’s signature mix, but also a host of unique recipes from various bartenders. Funk calls hers the “Funk Master Flav,” and it’s not for the faint of heart. Generous helpings of Tabasco, horseradish and wasabi will have that hangover escaping through your tear ducts in no time.

What’s new this summer: With the start of Missoula’s farmer’s market, Tamarack decided to switch things up. Every Saturday at 6 a.m., one of the cooks heads downtown to pick up the freshest ingredients around. Carrots, rainbow cherry tomatoes, chive cheese, mint. There’s no limit to how much you can use, and Funk says she’s seen folks leave the bar with skewers of ingredients, “like a salad on the side.” The spread is as local as you’re bound to get, making this not just a hands-on hangover cure but a locavore’s dream.

Where to find it: Tamarack Brewing’s Bloody Mary bar is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, though Funk says they won’t leave you suffering if you show up a bit earlier. The bar is located riverside, at 231 W. Front St.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email

The Rockies Today, June 26

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal judge denies challenge to snowmobile rules in Montana WSA
Citizens for Balanced Use challenged the Gallatin National Forest's 2006 travel plan for the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn wilderness study area in Montana south of Bozeman, because the plan put new restrictions on where snowmobiles could travel, but on Monday U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon dismissed the lawsuit.
Billings Gazette; June 26

Demand for Montana coal slumps
Coal from Montana mines is piling up, due in part to a seasonal drop in demand due to hydropower resources in the Northwest, as well as less demand for coal in the Midwest.
Billings Gazette; June 24

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