Wrapped in a soft blanket, wearing fingerless gloves, hat and scarf…my laptop looks rather uppity here on the old grey weathered picnic table which sits on a matching grey weathered deck. Birds chirp while a train mutters in the FAR distance (amazing how sound travels). The crisp air skips about my nose, numbs my toes, and cools the hot tea too quickly. Surrounded by tall golden feathery topped mountain grass, I wait for a languid sun which teases from beyond the long shadow in which I sit. White snow-capped peaks nearly blend with the pale blue sky across the valley. (I just knew that was snow I smelled in the air after sunset last night!) Wish I had a bit of Bailey’s for my tea, but considering that this is a chain-cup tea morning, perhaps it’s just as well I don’t. I’ve quite a bit of the business part of art life to tend too, a cabin to spiff up for the dinner party tonight, a desert to make and a trail to run. Have you guessed or have I mentioned how much I LOVE being outside this time of year?! Perhaps the outdoor crispy-cold-air-laptop-typing could be considered training for ice climbing season…certainly have sluggish reddened fingers.

The computer/internet parts of business have been integral for maintaining my lifestyle here at the end of a road near the top of a mountain in Montana. What a blessing. The first computer at my cabin was a gift from my uncle. He visited Montana once and insisted on seeing the rustic place where he heard I lived. Cliff (my mountain man logger neighbor and dear friend) chained up his orange flatbed truck (duct tape on the taillights). My uncle held on to the dashboard and hit his head on the cab ceiling more than once while we four-wheeled up the narrow rocky switchbacks to the really rustic cabin on top of the mountain where I lived at the time. I had spent the winter hiking up the steep road to the cabin (and sledding down it). I would never have guessed a truck could make it up there and believe it is the only time we tried. The cabin is literally cabled to the rocky top to keep it from blowing down the mountain. My current humble cabin home looks like a Persian palace in comparison to that plywood shack. No exaggeration.
“Call me when you get power,” my uncle said before he returned to his home in Chicago. A few years later I called him; eventually I got through his personal assistant and told my uncle I had managed to get power. He asked pointed questions about my business as an artist. Then a few days later some huge boxes arrived at the post office, were loaded in my truck, bounced up the mountain, unloaded and unpacked; a computer, a scanner, and a printer complete with numbered stickers to show me which cords and where to plug them in. Many thanks to a generous uncle with foresight, I was connected.
The “office” was a corner of my living room space. I didn’t have running water but I finally had a phone complete with an internet phone connection. Alas my business as an artist felt official…the world was more accessible…and my learning curve broadened. A “how to” book helped me create a website in a weekend.  Within a month I had my first internet customer; a bride commissioned me to carve a humidor as a wedding present for her groom. I would have photographed the piece if I had a camera.
Social media has opened the door to a whole new learning curve and level of connection for this mountain top “hermit” artist. One morning a little over a week ago I edited my first video, shot with my little digital camera on Black Mountain and posted it on my own channel on YouTube. I’ve a zillion video ideas and plenty to share. Visit the channel, subscribe (it’s free), rate my videos, write comments. Facebook and Twitter are enhancing my ability to connect with you. Right now I’ve got to take my cold sniffling nose and frozen fingers inside. Did I say “brrrrrrr?!”