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Day by Day in NW Montana -December 2008

By: bionicdan , 5:24 PM GMT on December 01, 2008

December Snow Shoe Walk Video with Holiday Tunes
(Filmed on a earlier date, but added here as my holiday and year ending video)

12/31/2008 - A final posting for 2008. Happy New Year to everyone! This last day of December, and of the year, has been a weather filled day in NW Montana. Just cloudy conditions gave way to what I would consider a near blizzard during parts of the morning. The wind has continued blowing, but the snow stopped long enough to plow and shovel. However, as I write this, a new snowy blast is blowing through the ranch, and, in fading daylight, the barn is only slightly visible from the deck. Since it isn't too cold, the horses are spending the day (so far) outside. Maybe we will move them into the barn, just so they don't get lost in the wind and snow!

New Year's Eve at a Neighbor's Home - Happy New Year!
New Year's Eve gathering at a neighbor's home

Video of Morning Animal Check and Walk, and the first Snow Storm of the Day

12/30/2008 - A final morning animal check with the ranch guests, and it was time to catch the train back to Minnesota. Unfortunately, a call to the ranch at about noon, showed them still waiting for the train to arrive from Seattle. (It was about 4 hours late already, and with a 20 hour train ride ahead of them, it may be a long trip back home). Sun through high streaming clouds is making up the weather scene at the ranch today. After the 4"+ of yesterday, this is turning out to be the most snow we've seen here in a number of winters. More is expected to arrive over the next week or so.

The Last Morning Animal Check for the Ranch Guests, a Return to do a Dog Walk and the Daily Ranch Tasks

12/29/2008 - The temperatures cooled down a little and the soft snow and slush of yesterday was replaced with a new snow coating on top of the icy undercoat. The morning walk today was more of a crunch crunch through the crusty snow. Later, another round of horse riding took place for the visitors. Light afternoon snow ended before sunset with a new 3" plus covering everything (including the horses unfortunate enough to not be selected for riding).

Morning Walk with the Dogs, Plus
Morning walk with the dogs

Riding the Wild Tree
Heidi riding the wild horse tree

Afternoon Horse Riding Sessions
Getting Orpheus ready for the ride

Riders in the arena this afternoon

Outdoor Horses Getting Covered with Snow
Harmony and Goldstar getting a covering of new snow

12/28/2008 - Mild and wet today with a rain snow mix in the morning. This changed into mostly rain by mid day. This is really going to wreck the nice powdery snow that has existed for the last week. ... And it did ... The snow slid off of the metal roofs today and we used a combination of the tractor and other equipment to move some piles of snow around. I ended up skipping snowshoeing and skiing and just did the snow cleanup tasks today instead. It was a fine day at the ranch!

Snow Sliding from Workshop Roof
Snow sliding from the workshop roof

Snow Piles after Plowing and Moving Snow
Snow piles after snow removal work today

12/27/2008 - There was another coating of snow for the ranch today. The total on the ground now is in the range of twelve inches, plus. I used the back country cross country skis today to go out to feed the horses for the afternoon snack, and continued the trek around the ranch trails. It was a snowy beautiful day in the upper woods. Late in the afternoon a new snow fall passed through the area covering everybody and everything with a fresh coating of itself.

Quiet Snow Trails in the Upper Woods
Snow trail along the curved tree

Snow Covered Trees along the Upper Trail
Snow covered trees near the upper trail

Taffy with a Snow Coated Muzzle
Taffy drying after romp in the snow

Ski Trail Leading to the Gate
Ski trail near the gate

Returning from Snowshoeing in Heavy Afternoon Snow
Return from snowshoeing with heavy snow falling

Patti and Jonah with Afternoon Snow Falling
Patti and Jonah during afternoon snowfall

Christmas Tree now loaded with the New Snow
Christmas tree on the deck covered in snow

12/26/2008 - The day began with the sun breaking through the morning clouds. As the day continued, so did the sunshine with great conditions for a combination of cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and even some horseback riding. The visiting triplets and my wife visited a neighbor while cross country skiing was enjoyed by others.

Morning Light along the Upper Fence Lines
Morning light along the upper fence line just before sunrise

Morning Sunrise through the Clouds
Sunrise, fence shadows, and snow

Turkeys in the Barnyard
Turkeys roam through the neighbors barnyard

Visiting a Neighbor - Travel by Snowshoe and Horseback
Snowshoe group along with a neighbor who met them on horseback

Kicking Up the Snowshoes
Patti and the triplets kicking up the snowshoes

Patti and the triplets kicking up the snowshoes

Skiing the Woods Trails
Steve rounding the trees from the upper woods

Ginger Resting in the Girls Bed Nest
Ginger in the girls bed resting

Ginger in the girls bed resting

12/25/2008 - Christmas morning began with the regular required ranch tasks of doing the animal checks and the feeding of the horses. Everyone enjoyed a light morning snowfall. The morning was spent inside with some gift exchanges and morning fun. Early in the afternoon, all of the horses were brought into the indoor arena to provide some riding for the visitors. Even Goldstar enjoyed some time with his coat off so he could work out a little. (He is 22, so he doesn't get ridden like all of the others). It was a quiet evening with the outdoor tree providing soft light for the time of resting.

Family at the Fence during Morning Animal Check
Colford family at the fence

Animal Check, Feeding and Photo Session
Andrea, Heidi and Greta pulling out the morning hay sled

Activity at morning animal feeding

Girls Catching Fresh Snowflakes
Andrea, Heidi, and Greta catching snowflakes

Gift Opening during Christmas Morning
Greta opening a Christmas gift

Afternoon Horse Exercise Time
Goldstar with Patti and the triplet visitors

Resting and Reading on Christmas Day
Andrea reading with Titan resting on the couch

Heidi reading with Taffy resting near her

The Christmas Tree Lighting Up the Late Evening
Tree lights the deck on Christmas evening

12/24/2008 - Today was a great day at the ranch. The animals were cared for, and appreciated the food and attention. The later morning and early afternoon was spent enjoying great sun and mild temperatures around the ranch. We did a snowshoe trek along the fence line and the girls enjoyed sledding down the hill. Afterward, we continued the snowshoe walk into the woods and picked out a Christmas tree. It was a wonderful day!

Horses, Out Standing in Their Field
Horses at mid day feeding

Ranch View from the Sledding Hill
Ranch viewed through a snow covered tree

Sledding Down the Pasture Hill
Patti filming the sledders

Carrying the Christmas Tree
Heidi and Daniel carrying the Christmas tree

Showing the Horses the Christmas Tree
Showing the Christmas tree to the horses

Trimming the Christmas Tree
Steve and Heidi trimming the Christmas Tree

12/23/2008 - Clearing conditions overnight resulted in another good drop in temperature. The morning low was in the minus 10 range with a waning crescent moon over the horses at the morning feeding. Clouds moved in during the morning, and the temperatures rose slowly before leveling out at between 10 and 12 degrees in the positive range. Mostly cloudy conditions with just short glances at the sun made up the afternoon. A run up the hill provided some views of the area with the full snow cover that has arrived over the last week.

Decorated for the Holidays
Decorated for the Christmas season

Ranch View from the North Hill
Ranch viewed from the north hill

12/22/2008 - Variable conditions passed through again today with light cloud cover in the early day breaking away into full clear sky for a couple of hours. The mid-day brought in some more clouds and additional light snow.

Harmony Munches Hay at the Morning Feeding
Harmony at the morning feeding

Snow Angel Creation during the Morning Dog Walk
Girls making snow angels during the morning walk
Greta making a snow angel

Full Sunlight for a Taking Ranch Images
Images by Steve
The Snow, the Plow, and the Sky
The snow, the plow, and the sky
Shadow Fence along the Driveway
The shadow fenceline along the driveway
The Tree by the Pond (covered by snow)
The tree by the pond
Sun and Shadows along the Creek Trees
Sun and shadows on the creek trees

The Return of Snow in the Early Afternoon
Image by Steve
Corrie being lead into arena for riding

Harmony, Hoping to be Picked for Riding
Image by Steve
Harmony, with a long face since noone would ride him

Afternoon Riding of the Horses
Image by Steve
Greta, Heidi, and Andrea riding Jonah, Wanita, and Corrie

12/21/2008 - Well, it's a cold one. Just after midnight as I write this, and I notice the LaCrosse sensor came back to life. Showing a minus 21.9 degrees right now. I think that's about the last displayable value, since it was showing OFL (overflow ... er, make that underflow), when the temperature was -22 or colder for a couple of hours. The horses are (happily, I assume) in the barn. However, one of the shared waterers has failed, so we may have to run a couple them out to the old barn (where a stock tank has a working heater in it) for the rest of the night. Either that, or go out to chip ice out of buckets we left for them every couple of hours! ... and way, way, way back in the distance ... Life on the Farm ... do dah, do dah (used before ... but so true)!

Slowly increasing temperatures continued through the day. With the rising temperature came some more falling snow. Light snow continued off and on and resulted in another 2" for the ranch by late evening.

The ranch guests who arrived just after midnight, were allowed to rest before being put to work with ranch chores. A little recreational snow shoeing also took place later in the afternoon, when the chores were completed.

Light Morning Snow
Light morning snow in view south

Ranch Guests, Put to Work for the Daily Chores
Andrea and Heidi pulling the sled during the chores

Afternoon Snowshoe Outing
Snowshoeing along the woods fenceline

The Snowshoe Group
Group photo during the snowshoe outing

12/20/2008 - In a surprise move (at least to the NWS Forecasters) the sky cleared overnight and the temperature dropped, considerably! I will cut the forecasters some slack though, since it is difficult to forecast when elevations vary from 2500' to over 8000' in the forecast area. Even the local area forecast feature (both on-line, and in my own estimate, using the 10 PM dew point as a guide for the overnight low) only came within ten degrees. The temperature sensors all showed a low of at least 20 below zero this morning. The horses were not impressed, as we had told them it was going to stay relatively mild (no colder than 10 below) so they could stay outside for the night! Oh well, from now on we won't tell them how cold we think it will be. The clear sky and bright snow cover made for a gorgeous, if somewhat cool, day today. The evening came fast and cold, this almost shortest daylight period day of the year. Some of the temperature sensors already have gone below their limit (-22 degrees) before 10 PM!

Frosty Face on Corrie this Morning
Corrie with frosty face

Bright Afternoon with New Snow and Full Sun
Sun and snow for a bright day

Ranch Buildings Framed by Pines and Snow
Ranch building across cold blue snow

12/19/2008 - Another light snowfall overnight to add slightly to the depth so far accumulated. It made for a good snow shoe outing, with just the big dogs venturing out with us. With the cold temperatures, stops to clear ice from their pads was needed from time to time. Varying overcast continued for most of the day, but with nearly sunny conditions just at the end of the day.

On the Morning Snowshoe Outing
Daniel on upper trail during snow shoe outing

Late Afternoon Sun Appearance
Sun low in late afternoon

12/18/2008 - The snowfall that began yesterday continued through the night. Morning measurement showed a depth of six to eight inches of snow. For this event, the amount was about five inches. The temperatures are holding at between ten and fifteen degrees today, with falling temperatures expected as the snow ends and sky conditions clear.

Additional Snow for the Walk with the Dogs
Taffy framed by snow covered branches

Snowy Trees along the Upper Trail
Snow covered trees along upper trail

12/17/2008 - The clouds slid in quietly overnight and dropped another offering of snow. This resulting in the lowest temperatures just at midnight, followed by a slow climb to above zero in time for the morning walk with the dogs. There was a valiant attempt by the sun to break through early in the morning, but the thickening clouds persisted, an won control of the day, giving a slow addition of snow as the day continued.

New Snow for the Morning Dog Walk
New light snowfall and the morning walk with the dogs

Morning Attempt for the Sun to Appear
Last of the sun with increasing clouds today

12/16/2008 - A quick passing of clouds during the night brought the early low temperatures of around minus 20 degrees up just a little. Clear conditions again in the morning as the winter sun tries to raise the temperature above zero again ... which it did ... with a high just about hitting 10 above zero! A clear sky this evening hints that another cold night is ahead.

Cold Morning with a View to the South from the Deck
Horses out in cold morning sun and shadows

Last Evening Light on Swan Range to the Northeast
Last sunlight on the Swan Range

12/15/2008 - A mixture of clouds overnight kept the temperature holding around the zero mark. Those clouds began breaking up during the mid morning and by afternoon clear sky and falling temperatures both arrived. The sunshine may keep temperatures steady through the afternoon, but if the clear conditions continue overnight, a forecast low of nearly 20 degrees below zero may be reached. The cold conditions have resulted in some changes to the ranch chores. With a water tank frozen in the winter pasture, the horses have been enjoying the comfort of in the barn protection overnight.

Returning from the Morning Walk
Returning down the west hill after a morning walk with the dogs

Sunny Conditions during the Middle of the Day
Clear sky and sunshine for most of the late morning through the afternoon

Orpheus near Frozen Water Tank
Water frozen by cold temperatures

12/14/2008 - It was a cold start to the day with a low of about minus 15 degrees. The temperature did a nice rise to almost zero by the end of the afternoon. Maybe it was because of some high cloud cover and it probably kept the full heating rays of the sun from having much impact. (The sun's angle, and the reflecting snow didn't help, either). But it was a good day around the ranch and we got the necessary chores done without any problem.

Cold Morning Just before Sunrise
Cool frosty clouds before sunrise

Deck Railing Shadows on the Snow
Deck spindle shadows in the snow

Mid Morning with Frosty Fog Still in the Air
Frosty fog in the air this morning

12/13/2008 - The calm wind conditions changed at about 11:30 PM last night with speeds of 30 mph common overnight. The barometric pressure is on the rise today after hitting a low of about 29.35" late yesterday. Today, the morning horse feeding and dog walk was done in blowing snow conditions. However, the trails in the woods were rather calm compared to the winds blowing while crossing the pastures.

Snow along Woods Trail
Snow covered trees and walking trail

Walking through the New Snow
Patti walking along the trail

Winter Wonderland Dog Walk
Patti with Titan and Taffy

12/12/2008 - Clear start to the day. But, the barometer is falling, overcast is increasing, the forecast icons are starting to blink, and any time someone might blow the klaxon. This could be the start of real winter here in NW Montana! At 4:00 PM it started snowing. The temperature is holding at about 25 degrees and the wind is light or even calm. The snow continued to fall through the evening with a depth of about 3.5" at the last animal check.

Sign of Sleeping Horse
Sleeping horse mark in the ground frost

Sun to Start the Day
Clear for sunrise today

Horse Back Ride for the Kittens
Horse rides for Aggie and Torrie again today

Chores of Gathering the Evening Hay
Pitching hay into the trailer

Horses waiting for Feeding in Light Snowfall
Horses standing waiting for an evening feeding

12/11/2008 - A mostly clear start to the day. Ranch weather has been rather mild ... but, be aware, there is a winter storm watch and a forecast of much colder temperatures in a few days. Meanwhile, it is nice to enjoy the clear dry conditions given to us today.

Mostly Clear Start to the Day
Wispy clouds at sunrise

Sunshine Across the Valley
Clear across the valley to the Swan Range east of here

Swan Range Snowcapped in the Afternoon Sun
View east to the snow capped Swan Range

Fall Color Still in Grass and View to the Ranch
Still a hint of fall color in the grass in a view toward the ranch from the north hill

Full Moon Rising Above the Cloud Bank
Cloud layer in the distance with a full moon rising above it

12/10/2008 - We were out and about early today for the walk with the dogs before sunrise. It's getting to be the time of the year when it stays a bit dark until after 8:00 AM (so, it isn't really that early, after all!). Later in the day, a mix of sun through the clouds melted away the light snow from yesterday.

Morning Dog Walk ... in the Dark
Morning dog walk in the dark

Afternoon Mix of Sun with Clouds Melted the Snow Away
Snow gone after sun cloud mix and a mild day

12/09/2008 - A mostly cloudy day today. A steady snowfall ended the day, coating everything with a new layer of snow. It was already dark outside, so no images were taken (yet ... maybe I'll try some at the final animal check).

Horses Mill around the Morning Hay Area
Horses at morning feeding out in the winter paddock

(Santa, perhaps) Checking on the Rein(snow) Horses Late Tonight
Patti checking Orpheus at last animal check

12/08/2008 - A light snowfall started the day today. The morning dog walk and horse feeding was done during that event. The day continued to be mostly cloudy with just a glimpse of sun through those clouds.

Light Snow During a Dog Walk
Me walking the dogs during a light morning snow

12/07/2008 - There was a bit of rain falling this morning and the snow around the ranch pretty much disappeared. There was a definite snow line though and it was about 200-300 feet higher than the ranch. Meanwhile, in the house, Scamp posed, hoping to become a part of the refrigerator photo collection. I'm not sure this was a good enough pose to make the collection.

Snow Line Above the Horses in the Meadow
Definite snow line apparent on the mountains today

Scamp ... trying Desperately to Make the Fridge Photo Collection
Scamp on the refrigerator

12/06/2008 - Just kind of a damp mild day around the valley today. The morning had a mixture of freezing rain and snow pellets. During the middle of the day the fog continued to hang in the valley. We drove east today, leaving a breaking sunshine to head back into a mixture of the fog with a little light rain that fell closer to the Swan Mountain range.

Fog Banks Above the Tree Line at Mid Day
Mid day fog above the tree line

Fog and Mist along the Swan Mountain Range
Fog and mist along the Swan Mountain range

12/05/2008 - It was a grey/gray kind of winter day today. Good enough to go out for a run to check out the scenes along the route.

Farm Along Running Route ... Now a Wintry Look

12/04/2008 - Clear overnight and morning sky made for a cool start to the day. The creek still continues to work its way through, even if some ice is forming around the edges. Single digits will probably happen again tonight with light cloud cover. There were just enough clouds around at sunset to add some color to the evening sky.

Clear Sky at Morning Sunrise
Sun just over the hills this morning

Creek Running through the Snow
Creek still running with some ice and snow

Evening Clouds Give Sunset Colors
Color in clouds at sunset

12/03/2008 - A bit of sun today over the new snow cover. It is actually only about an inch deep, but it stayed around for the entire day since the temperature stayed below freezing.

Sun Across the Paddock
Sun and shadows over snow in view to the Swan Range

12/02/2008 - Mild start to the day. However, a change was in the wind already after the morning walk. The temperature fell throughout the day and by early afternoon some light snow was falling. An ongoing mix of wind and snow continued through the afternoon giving the ranch a wintry appearance at last.

First Snow Day 2008-2009 Season

12/01/2008 - Cloud cover around the ranch today with a fog bank hanging in the valley. There was just a quick ray or two of sun under the clouds this morning. The temperatures continue to stay above normal with today's cloud cover. Since Marco is no longer around in the barn, Tizzy (one of the other barn cats) has started coming up to the house more often.

Fog Behind Neighboring Farm
Morning fog behind neighboring farm

Billows of Fog in the Distant Valley
Fog boils in the valley above the tree line

Tizzy Asking: 'Does this coat make me look fat?'
Tizzy in full winter coat

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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55. christmasgirl
3:10 PM GMT on November 17, 2010
Hey, I just found your site and I absolutely love it. Winter is my favorite time of year, Christmas is my favorite holiday, horses are my favorite animals, and its my dream to move somewhere where it snows and get a ranch. You have the perfect life! You're awesome!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
54. Zachary Labe
5:59 PM GMT on January 01, 2009
bionicdan- Happy New Year!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
53. code1
12:54 PM GMT on January 01, 2009

Happy New Year to all at the ranch!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
52. bionicdan
12:12 AM GMT on January 01, 2009
Thank you to everyone who has posted a Happy New Year Greeting to me. This month and year is running out and that means I'll be starting a new Blog entry tomorrow. Just in case I do not get back to this comment section, I want to let everyone know I appreciate all of your greetings and comments. I wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
51. incogkneetoe
11:27 PM GMT on December 31, 2008
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50. shutterbug1
10:51 PM GMT on December 31, 2008
Happy New Year to you and yours Dan!

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48. MNTornado
1:53 PM GMT on December 31, 2008
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47. bionicdan
6:22 AM GMT on December 30, 2008
Shore: And then, today it cooled down and snowed some more to cover up the ice! At the evening animal check, it even seemed like some of the crunch had gone out of the snow again, and it was more powdery. This has certainly been a great Holiday Season!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
46. shoreacres
4:15 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Oh, shoot. Sorry about that 37 degrees and rain. You'll just have to have another try at it in January! At least you had the wonderful stuff for the holidays and guests, and got those great photos!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
45. bionicdan
3:50 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
code1: The long snowshoes can be a real challenge. One of the girls was wearing them. Since the binding is just a big toe holder and a loop of flexible rubber, they can go any which direction when stepping through the snow.

It did warm up, too much ... minus 20 might be a little on the low side, but with 32-35 degrees the snow is melting and water is dripping through the deck down onto the van and colder concrete, making a nasty location for a skating area.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
44. code1
1:01 PM GMT on December 28, 2008
Good morning. 'Twas an enjoyable first cuppa coffee this morning watching your youtube. I laughed when I heard you or their Dad say "no one said it was going to be easy". I tried cross country skis across the woods at my grandparents farm in MI once. Hardest thing I ever did at that point. I did learn to shuffle instead of walk at the end though. The girls must really love visiting the ranch!
Looks like it has warmed up there and raining now. Rain here in FL as well with 82F reading on 12/28 in the panhandle is just not right! LOL I'll take it though, am a warm weather person. Have a great Sunday.
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43. bionicdan
6:38 AM GMT on December 28, 2008

It has been a little more busy (and interesting) around the ranch the last few days. The visitors are enjoying (mostly) and the weather has cooperated with not so cold temperatures and the most wonderful snowfalls that I have experienced in a long time. I hope it stays cold enough to keep the good snow for a couple of weeks. The worst thing that can happen is for it to warm up enough for the snow to change to freezing rain and ice. As it is today, about 12-13" of snow covers the ground everywhere (deeper in spots) and it is the nicest powdery snow that could be wanted.

I am glad you enjoy the images. I posted a series that Steve took. He is very good at composing his images and setting the exposure values to get excellent photographs on almost every click of the shutter.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
42. shoreacres
4:50 AM GMT on December 27, 2008
Hi, Daniel,

Good to see that you're too busy to post. It gives me a chance to get caught up with an enjoy what's already here. It looks like you're all having so much fun - I've never been snow-shoeing - what a blast that must be.
It must really work - otherwise people wouldn't still be using them!

I am just so taken with "The Snow, the Plough and the Sky". Well, and the shadows along the fenceline, and the pond. There are so many good photos - makes me nostalgic for my Iowa winters.

Keep enjoying that company and having a wonderful time - that's what this season is for!
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41. code1
8:38 PM GMT on December 25, 2008
An Irish Christmas Blessing

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and
God's peace to you.

Happy Christmas Friend!
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40. shutterbug1
6:49 AM GMT on December 25, 2008
Hi Dan,

Thanks! Believe it or not, those are moon dogs. Just happened to get that shot, in Dec. 2006 when it was REALLY cold with sub zero temps and and nasty wind chills. The moon was so bright against the snow, it seemed like daylight. I had never seen anything like it before, and probably will never see anything like it again.
It was one of those magical "ah-ha" moments.

Christmas Blessings to you and your family,

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
39. bionicdan
5:12 AM GMT on December 25, 2008
MichaelSTL: Thank you for the beautifully decorated tree. Best Christmas wishes to you.

shutterbug1: The sun dog images are wonderful. Thank you and have a great Holiday Season.

Blizzard92: I send back to you greetings for a fantastic Christmas, too. This is the time to enjoy and rejoice.

incogkneetoe: Thank you for the flowing water. Our source of life and refreshment. May it take you into a wonderful New Year.
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38. incogkneetoe
1:04 AM GMT on December 25, 2008

Wishing you and yours a wonderful grand Christmas
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37. Zachary Labe
3:36 PM GMT on December 24, 2008
bionicdan- Have a wonderful Christmas!
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36. shutterbug1
3:32 AM GMT on December 24, 2008
May you find warmth in the winter sunshine, and evening light from the moonlit reflections upon the snow... Merry Christmas to you and yours!
MD 06 640X480

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34. bionicdan
3:18 AM GMT on December 24, 2008
Linda: Thank you.
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33. shoreacres
11:12 PM GMT on December 22, 2008
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32. bionicdan
5:05 PM GMT on December 21, 2008
shore / code1: Thanks. Taking the images is sometimes a little more challenging when using the camera in the cold, snow, and all that goes with winter at the ranch, but the scenes available for capture have been great.

shore: The weather crossed over from fall to winter in great style, giving temperatures cold enough to shut down the weather instruments! But, the low was reached early overnight, and a slow rise is taking place today. Along with rising temperatures, snow has arrived to refresh the current covering. Horses, dogs, cats, and people, including guests (relatives actually ... do relatives count as guests?) who arrived shortly after midnight, survived the "longest night of the year" (or just about the longest, anyway)!

code1: It does seem like the horses adapt pretty well to the cold. Until this winter, all of them stayed outside (some without any blankets) and did not seem to have any problems. Wrt the snakes: I don't believe we have any poisonous slitherers in this area, so I think the animals are safe from harm.
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31. code1
3:18 PM GMT on December 21, 2008
Like shore, the pics are amazing. I think my fav is of Corrie however. Poor girl. They adapt far better than we do though. RE: snakes. We have as many or more poisonous ones here in FL, as the non-poisonous sort. Have heard horror stories of dogs being bitten and/or killed by them. If I hear, or see mine after something out in the yard, I run with hoe in hand hoping to avert the same tragedy to fall on one of mine. Thankfully so far, one water moccasin, and one pygmy rattler both met their fate by me, and didn't get to play with the dogs. Stay warm up there, and keep your pics coming!!
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30. shoreacres
1:49 PM GMT on December 21, 2008
Oh, those new photos are just breathtaking! I can't get enough of looking at them, and I surely don't know which one I like best. It makes me want to be in real snow again - maybe one day.

I laughed and laughed at the links. Yeh, that easy country charm is great, isn't it? Especially when you're out chipping ice out of the water buckets. That reminded me of The Big Houston Freeze of 1983 (I think). We were below freezing for days and days - pipes froze all over the city, including at my apartment complex. There were outside courtyards that flooded and froze over with about two inches of ice. I still had my ice skaes and had a ball.

But, to my point - with no water, we'd go down to the swimming pools and break the ice on top to get buckets of water to flush toilets. Don't tell ME a city girl can't cope!

Enjoy the first day of winter.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
29. bionicdan
4:22 AM GMT on December 18, 2008
code1: No black snakes. Snakes are not on my pet list either. One of the little Poodles, Ginger, has been a good snake hunter. She manages to find a snake every once in a while, and will shake it like crazy until it is a goner.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
28. code1
2:02 AM GMT on December 18, 2008
I absolutely love the photos you post! Horse waterers....Do you have black snakes out there? When I lived in KY with horses, we had electric waterers in the barn as well. Often times (of course we didn't have the extreme temps you do), when they froze or otherwise overflowed, it was due to a nasty black snake, sometimes a copperhead, curled up inside the box for warmth when I lifted the cover off. YIKES! I ran screaming for someone else then. Shovel flooded stalls I could do. Get rid of snakes did not fall into my job description! Wuss that I am. :-)
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27. bionicdan
1:38 AM GMT on December 18, 2008
code1: I am glad you like the pictures I post. It has become an interesting day to day activity for me as well.

The cold can be challenging. This year, we have brought on-line a whole set of new horse waterers. There have been some problems and daily checks are required to make sure things are working correctly. This is all part of having the ranch, though, and one more thing to keep life interesting.
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26. code1
7:28 PM GMT on December 17, 2008
I follow your pics in awe. I just can't comprehend the need to live in that climate. I would not have large animals here either though, too hot and humid for them to be comfortable IMO. Much like I think of your place now. For now, I will live with my standard poo's and envy others their lives. I love the Appalachian mountains, have not been privy to the mountains out west other than fly overs. My heart listens to the big waters of the ocean though. I do want to see the big mountains, and wide open range from a horse's back before getting too old to do so though. One day soon....
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25. bionicdan
5:01 AM GMT on December 16, 2008
code1: Great - snoring horses, too. One of our standard poodles snores quite loudly!

shore: Yes, we do increase their feed cycles and quantity during these cold spells. Thanks again for the link to the specialty groomer. I did enjoy the images there.

A very cold one tonight -- just as we are getting ready to go out for the 10 PM animal check, the outdoor sensor is showing a -20.1 degrees! The horses are already in the barn, but, we'll check them and the cats out in the workshop on our outdoor rounds.
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24. shoreacres
9:51 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
bionicdan ~ I always had believed horses stood to sleep, too. Every day, something new to learn.

Do you increase the horses' feed rations during such cold weather to help them stay warm? I can believe they help warm the barn. I visited once with a family who lived in Germany's Black Forest in a traditional home, with the cattle below the living quarters. They said there was a distinct difference in human comfort when the barn beneath them was filled with animals - or, at the very least, less fuel was needed to heat the home.

I left the link to the poodles, but took the picture out - it was just a little amusement, not a contribution to the discussion. Besides, your dogs are much classier!
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23. code1
9:36 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
Before having the ranch, I believed horses always stood up to sleep. That is not true.

Right, they do have that lock-knee mechanism though. I had a walking horse that not only lied down every night to sleep with pads on, he snored all the other horses to sleep in the barn. Was still at it early morn feeding time if he didn't hear the barn door slide open as well. :-)

Hope it warms some for you all soon!
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22. bionicdan
9:21 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
WxWyz: Thanks! Right, we are keeping ourselves and the animals as comfortable as possible.

code1: It is interesting to see the signs that the horses do lie down totally for their full resting time. Before having the ranch, I believed horses always stood up to sleep. That is not true.

The barn is not heated, but with the combination of the wood pellet bedding, rubber mats in a all of the stalls, and all of the horses wearing blankets, we have found the barn temperature stays around 10 degrees above zero even with the outside temperature at the minus 20 level. I think just the horses being in the barn helps to keep the temperature up a little. There is a project plan on the clipboard to add some insulation to the barn over the next year or so.

Oh, and yes, the dogs sometimes wear foot boots. The last couple of days, just the Standards have been doing the morning walk. We cut the little ones a little slack, Cinnamon is now 13 years old, and Ginger is 12. So, we don't force them around the walking trail during the extra cold days.
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21. code1
3:53 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
Good morning. I absolutely love the pic of the sign of the sleeping horse. Bravo and well done!!
-15 is not even human! Do the dogs wear boots of any kind, or just stay out for a very short time during those temps? If you want a boot link for them, let me know. I have a good one saved. I used to add straw to the bedding for the horses when it was to be +15 or below, even in barn, and blanketed. Can't imagine those temps. brrrrrr
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20. WxWyz
3:47 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
Beautiful photos as usual, Dan.
Take care!
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19. bionicdan
3:44 PM GMT on December 15, 2008
GardenGrrl: Thank you. Tizzy is a pretty cute one. Late last spring, she was just one ball of matted fur. I brushed her daily for about a week to get everything cleaned out, and since then she loves it when someone comes into the workshop, hoping for some more grooming!
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18. GardenGrrl
9:01 AM GMT on December 15, 2008
Of all the beautiful photos you have, Tizzy just makes me smile.
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17. bionicdan
6:46 AM GMT on December 15, 2008
Shore: Great! Ahem ... I assume it was just a fun relaxing Sunday afternoon activity for you ... otherwise, you might want to think about activating some kind of URL filter ...(grin)

Oh, and I see you even enforced your graphics filter on your comment after I had followed the original links to the waaaayyyy out website.
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16. shoreacres
4:29 AM GMT on December 15, 2008
Hi, bionicdan,

Just an extra little stop to share something I found waaaayyyy out on the fringes of the internet. You have poodles - these people have poodles... sort of. I explored several sites to see what this really was, and it really is grooming competition. Artistic grooming competition.

The link provides more photos, some explanation and comments, and a promise that no poodles were harmed in the process! (Except their pride, perhaps). I do NOT recommend this. But it is amazing.
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15. bionicdan
12:42 AM GMT on December 15, 2008
Shore: I enjoyed checking out the links ... Thank you.

Exactly right on the horse blanket. That's what they are. And, although I prefer the natural look of horses, the blankets do add a dash of color and help me identify them when going through my pictures! (Oh, and they offer some protection from extreme cold temperatures, too).

It has been a little cool. I just checked my automatic instrument log, and it posted a high of -0.5 for today! Now, that separates the "riff-raff" from the real outdoor people! I thought we had dodged the bullet on the extra cold when I first looked at one of the outdoor sensors this morning, as it showed a relatively mild -3.5 degrees. However, it looks like that particular instrument has a low temperature display limit as the recorded low dipped down to -15 or so!
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14. shoreacres
10:30 PM GMT on December 14, 2008
Afternoon, Daniel,

I heard some reports about the northern Plains weather on my way home from work and thought I'd peek in to see how you all are faring. The new snowfall is beautiful, and the current 1 degree temp is impressive.

The horses look rather dashing in their blankets, too. (Do you call them blankets, or do those things have a special name?)

There's a blog I read regularly that's written by a Canadian fellow living in Hamburg, Germany. His daughter, now 13 I believe, has begun working with horses. He does a rather nice blog, and I thought you would enjoy his two most current entries. The first has one of the loveliest photos of a young girl with her horse you could want, and the second has two very short (less than a minute) videos of her riding in her first tournament. They just caught me for some reason, and I thought I'd pass them on.

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13. bionicdan
6:24 PM GMT on December 13, 2008
Blizzard92: Well, it is kinda windy, and starting to get kinda cold (2.8 degrees as I type this). But with walls around and a roof above, it feels quite comfortable. (The horses, standing around outside, might think about it a little differently, though).

Horses at lunch in the corral

A great day is underway!
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12. Zachary Labe
6:13 PM GMT on December 13, 2008
bionicdan- Looks like some rough weather is headed out that way, stay warm! Have a great day!
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11. bionicdan
3:56 PM GMT on December 10, 2008
Shore: Glad you liked the article. (New York Times : Typing Without a Clue).

I agree with you about the Sepia tone image, too. Somehow, it just doesn't give the same feeling as the black & white and other less false colored filter variations ... I'm still experimenting with that image and may modify the slide show as I find some effects I like. I took several other images of that farm area, and liked most of them. A B&W rendering has become a temporary background on one of my computers. Changing the filters reminds me of my darkroom days and of how much time can be spent just trying for the right look.

And, yes, Scamp will try anything for a little photo time.
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10. MNTornado
6:06 AM GMT on December 10, 2008
Hope, Peace, Love, Joy
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9. shoreacres
3:36 AM GMT on December 09, 2008
Hi, bionicdan,

Thx again for the OpEd piece. Read it two more times today, and chuckled.

I really like some of these pics, especially the fog and mist along the Swan range. I like the farm too, both color and black and white. The sepia I didn't favor so much, but that's ok.

As for Scamp - well, it looks like even a cat can be a publicity hound!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. bionicdan
1:17 AM GMT on December 09, 2008
dragonflyF15: The snow line image was quite interesting. We had been across the valley to the east, near the Swan Range again today, after leaving the ranch during a late morning rain event. While returning, the clouds were hanging through the draws. I walked up the road just a bit to take the photo over a neighboring meadow. The ridge line of the hills to the west of us is about at 4200' compared to 3300' at the ranch. It is always interesting to see the difference the elevation change can make.

Scamp did have it pretty nice on the fridge. Another of the cats, Vincent, just left my lap. I guess I was crowding him too much when leaning over to type in this blog comment! So, they all seem to have it pretty nice around here.
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7. dragonflyF15
7:39 PM GMT on December 08, 2008
Cool snow line pic! Looks like the cat has the prime spot next to food and warmth :)

Have a good day!

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6. bionicdan
3:56 AM GMT on December 05, 2008
drafonflyF15: Yes, Tizzy has that FULL coat look. She is great!

Thanks for visiting, and I agree, winter, spring, summer or fall, the scenes continue to be great each day. I am very fortunate to be able to see them and enjoy sharing those views with others.

You have a good day as well!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. dragonflyF15
5:53 PM GMT on December 04, 2008
Well at least Tizzy can stay warm! What a cute ball of fur :)

Even barren, the shots look inviting! Thanks for sharing!

Have a splendid day~

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bionicdan's Daily Notes and Ramblings

About bionicdan

Retired. Now a rancher and life observer. Speak softly and carry a camera with a big memory stick.

Local Weather

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bionicdan's Recent Photos

Mountains Lake and Trees
Classic Glacier National Park
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Personal Weather Stations

Ranch west of Kalispell at 3317'
Kalispell, MT
Elevation: 3317 ft
Temperature: 46.9 °F
Dew Point: 36.1 °F
Humidity: 66%
Wind: 4.0 mph from the SW
Wind Gust: 9.0 mph
Updated: 3:05 PM MDT on March 23, 2017
Kalispell 7W, Montana
Kalispell, MT
Elevation: 3300 ft
Temperature: 50.2 °F
Dew Point: 27.4 °F
Humidity: 41%
Wind: 4.7 mph from the SSW
Wind Gust: -
Updated: 3:09 PM MDT on March 23, 2017

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