tramp magic

The girls and I set out for our daily outside romp, the one where I beam and my kids beam and we take turns exclaiming at the mountains’ beauty, the sun’s brilliance and how lucky we feel to live here.


I just don’t ever get over it, the grounding, buzzing beauty of Montana. And our new home is situated so we have the opportunity to spin circles and sing like Maria on the hilltop and have 360 degree postcard-worthy views.

This location is what pulled us to move across town. It’s quiet and open with access to trails that zig all the way up to grizzly bear country. What we didn’t know was how awesome the neighborhood would be, that every neighbor would stop by to meet us, welcome us with pies, cookies and no-need-for-handshakes–straight to hugs.

People have fences around their yards with gates on all sides so neighbor kids can just pop over whenever. One guy spent an entire summer de-rocking a city-owned field and irrigating it so the kids could have a place to play soccer. When we bought our house, we had to agree to a few unconventional criteria: one, we had to be groovy with the hood cutting through our property to access the sledding hill and two, the home came with a tractor and we had to commit to mowing 1/3 of the field behind our house so the Tuesday night kickball and after-school baseball could occur.

There’s a unique, cozy, invested energy in this valley and we are head-over-heels about that surprise.

On this particular day’s outing we sledded and I smiled, proud mama, as I witnessed my kids’ independence and fearlessness. Margot then told me about a secret she and her dad had found the day before, revealed by a neighbor. We raced up the hill and around a tree to find a giant trampoline. Situated right at the edge of a property, these neighbors placed it so anyone could use it at anytime.


A secret trampoline on a mountainside. Oh man, I had one of the best experiences of my life on that tramp with my daughters. Just joy. We jumped and rolled, beginning in our snow gear and shedding layers on the sun-warmed black mesh.


:: onto another subject about people who are equally in love with our state ::

Angle 33 is on facebook.

I am honored to present new sponsor, Angle 33! This Missoula-based business, owned and operated by our friends, makes wine thermals. Matt applies his expertise in all things concrete to his manufacturing creating a hip, made-in-Montana product that keeps red wine, white wine and champagne at optimum temperature for up to two hours. And he is driven by his passion for family and outdoors to create a lean manufacturing system that is detail-oriented so, you know, he can get the job done well and then play well. Read more about their admirable business standards here.

The wine thermals are rad. Plus the people who make them are rad. Every purchase contributes to radness. Matt and Marge offer a special deal to you, dear readers, of 20% off! Use coupon code vinolover at checkout. Thanks, Angle 33!

Wishing you all a weekend of magical hidden trampolines or something just as awesome.


25 Responses to tramp magic

  1. Your new neighborhood sounds FANTASTIC! Just another reason why I would love to move to Missoula!!

  2. Oh, man. Magic indeed! Your family’s joy ooozes from these photos. I *almost* can’t believe your good fortune in this new neighborhood. Way better than squirrel-shooters, eh?

  3. How awesome! Everthing I have ever heard about Missoula makes it sounds like a pretty sweet place to live!

  4. mumofsix says:

    How completely and utterly magical! Lucky you. What a wonderful place to bring up children. X

  5. Jasmine says:

    Oh my god! Could there be a groovier thing to find behind a tree at the top of a mountain? It sounds like one of those trippy Beatles songs. I love it. Makes me want to hide a trampoline around here somewhere.

  6. Tina says:

    Seriously? Let me know if a house goes up for sale in your neighbourhood, would ya? That’s like straight of a fairy tale or something. Too good to be true!

    And, Miss Ruby’s shirt saying “Live Simply” perfectly fits the occasion if I do say so myself!

  7. ctb says:

    damn girl, the story that is ‘your life’ just keeps getting better!

  8. Get out! I want to live in your neighbourhood :) Love the tramp pics….you 3 girls are so cute! x

  9. wow! what a neighbourhood – there must be a great sense of community… can i come and live there too?

  10. TRB Holt says:

    I thought you lived a cozy life before…now it is cozy & complete! I smile thinking of all the fun ahead for you in your new digs, every season will bring a new thrill!

    Margot & Ruby, could you two be any cuter? You Are My Sunshine & I Love You A Bushel & A Peck!
    Love to all, Mom/Gram

  11. TRB Holt says:

    ps…to all the readers out there. These wine thermals ARE the bomb!

  12. Donna says:

    I think I know the little area you live in and I’ve run by there imagining what it would be like to live there. Its still in town but so close to ‘getting outside’. I had no idea that the people would be so cool too! I’ll have to start looking for for sale signs when I run by! So awesome!

  13. Nancy says:

    Your new neighborhood sounds perfect!

  14. sarah says:

    this post is awesome. and maybe it’s because i’m neck deep in revising my paper about backyard chickens and front-yard gardens and restrictive land use ordinances (which you in part inspired! I should send you my draft!), but this post also brings to mind numerous property law questions! are these commitments you made about property access and mowing the lawn in writing in recorded covenants or easements? or just agreements, informally, with neighbors? if they are informal, that goes along with Ellickson’s study of neighborhood manners in Shasta County. It’s all about norms and gossip instead of legal remedies for solving problems in neighborhoods. super interesting stuff. and of course trampoline liability would normally be an issue, but if you now live in one of these communities governed by norms, that wouldn’t be a problem. Good times! Miss you!

  15. Melina says:

    Nici! You’ve found a utopia! Incredible. How much FUN. And the trampoline? Yeah, that’s pure joy. Pure adrenaline joy. I had one growing up in Vermont.

    Can’t wait to visit you one day…soon!


  16. A neighborhood trampoline?! That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard.

  17. FinnyKnits says:

    That is the most magical find I can imagine coming upon. And I’m thrilled that someone put it there without worrying about stupid adult things like lawsuits. Only fun and magic, please!

  18. How cool, love that kids can ‘free range’ when they get older . Our little neighbourhood is similar and what keeps us from looking elsewhere for a bigger home, instead making a few changes to the one we have.

  19. Sarah,

    I love your brainy comment. There isn’t any legal documentation about our agreement to mow and allow access. Just verbal, handshake sorta thing.

  20. Clove: Ha, yes, better than the squirrel shooter! Although, I must say, he stopped. We called the cops a few times and it felt really antagonistic and crazy but then he stopped and started saying hello. I was so grateful for that because I really adore that hood and the family that moved into that house!

  21. rebecca... says:

    ,,,cheers to your new digs and the fun times all of you will have, welcome home!,,,

  22. the mom~ says:

    Ok, I’ve only been reading since your domain name fiasco so please forgive me if you’ve answered this…your new neighborhood you talk of, is this is the house you’re moving to in June, or the nieghborhood where your cozy, only ’till June house is?
    And, we my family moved from CA to MN we stopped for the night in your city, LOVED IT!!! I told my husband if we move to Montana, it WILL be this this city! :)

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