WILDLIFE

There's plenty of wildlife in our neck of the woods. Some become adventurous and decide to visit the city side of things. I've had a couple of interesting visitors over the last few weeks, both at work and at home.

This big, beautiful golden eagle showed up for about 3 days in a row at work.

It was quite content to just hang about, and didn't seem to be bothered much at all by the traffic thru the scale house.

You can see how extremely large it was in comparison to the magpie a rail below and to the left in the pic. The magpies were ganging up and trying to bully the eagle into leaving. It didn't work. A bit of a joke since, size wise, they look like they are canary sized versus the 3 feet plus size of the eagle.

It was working really hard pulling the tarp back with it's big toes, trying to find something yummy to snitch out of that garbage laden trailer. Yucky!

Probably does smell pretty tempting judging by the number of crows, magpies, and other garbage eating birds that hang about on a daily basis. The department of transportation brings in all the road kill deer and other animals for disposal, which to carrion eaters, must smell delectable!

And speaking of delectable, cat food is a gourmet treat to be had if your nose is good enough to catch a whiff of it in your nightly meanderings.

Apparently this little critter has a really good sniffer, since he/she invited itself to a snack on our front porch this last week. I thought it seemed like my kitty was eating a lot more than was possible for her, and blamed it on the big cat that lives down the street.

It's finally been cooling down really well in the evenings, so I leave the doors open until I go to bed. I lock the screen door to the front porch and leave twinkle lights (wrapped on branches in a small barrel) on for a soft night light. I was reading the other night and could hear crunching. I assumed it was Angel and peeked out the door to check on her and caught this little busybody instead. The pictures aren't good because the light was so low, but it was a sight to see. It had made itself comfortable on Angel's blankets, laying flat on it's belly with it's little feet sticking out behind it, and would pull one piece of food out of the dish at a time with it's little paw and eat it. Then take a nice long drink of water followed by some more food. This went on for a long time, and when it decided it had had enough, got up, stretched, and waddled off into the flower bed and under the porch. It must sleep under the front porch all day and come out at night to eat and mosey about.

 

It was so darn cute to watch, but now we have to be very careful to turn lots of lights on outside in the back yard (we're staying away from the front yard at night for awhile) and whistle and talk before we take the dogs out to potty before bed. It is not a fun task washing a skunk squirted dog, let me tell you.

The deer are still thick in town. I saw a doe with tiny little twin fawns standing on the side of the street when I came up the hill to my house a few days ago. And the berries have been abundant this season, so there have been a wide variety of birds in my yard lately, also.

Pretty cheap entertainment!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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In A Good Path For The Eclipse

Our little town is not too far away from the path where folks had the ultimate view of the eclipse. We were able to view about 95% coverage of the sun. Boy, people were sure wound-up about it! The eclipse viewing glasses were a major hot ticket item everywhere you looked. Just before the big day, some enterprising soul was trying to sell the silly little paper and plastic things for $25 a pair on Craigslist! One of the gals I work with came out early to relieve me for lunch (and so we could both have a nice clear view to gawk at the eclipse together πŸ™‚ ), and she read on the Internet to stack old film negatives about 8 deep and clip them together, on each end, with a clothes pin. You could hold them up like steampunk opera glasses of sorts, and take quick peeks at the eclipse in progress.

I took a few pictures while at work during the height of it, which was about 11:35 a.m. mountain time. I had read it makes the birds confused and they think it's time to bed down, but it has been so smokey here from all the forest fires in progress, the birds I saw didn't seem to notice the eclipse at all!

This was at 11:30 a.m.

This first pic was around 5 to 8 minutes from the most obscuring we would witness. The shadows were odd, and it got darkish in the scale house like before a good rain storm, but it really wasn't that dark out.

This was the height of the whole shebang, about 11:38 a.m.

I took this pic of my hand's shadow on the side of the scale house to show just how much light there still was.

 

This was the tail end of it, about 11:43 a.m. It was still odd light, but rapidly getting brighter.

Anyhoo, there is my slide show/book report on the whole get up! I'm so lucky to have a window to hang out of and take pictures where I work!

TTFN

Teresa

 

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A Vengeful Spring Storm

The pretty little mama robin came back this spring. She reclaimed the nest she and her husband built last year. I was so happy to see her flitting to and fro out my kitchen window. The lilacs were in full bloom, as were the apple, Schubert's chokecherry, buckeye, and cherry trees in my yard. Spring was springing!

Then, Montana being what it is, it hit.

And this year, it was particularly bad.

A horrible, heavy, wet snow that weighed down the trees made fragile by the sap freshening in their branches and trunks, and the new leaves holding the snow, which further pulled the branches down. The next morning was disastrous in our little town. Whole trees downed, and broken branches everywhere. I heard there were homes damaged from falling trees and limbs, as well as fences, vehicles, and anything else that happened to be in the way as the snow laden trees were torn to bits. Working where I do (at the City's refuse transfer station, recycling, and green waste drop spot) I saw first hand the carnage the spring storm produced. People brought pick up truck loads, trailer loads, and some dump truck loads full of broken branches, crushed bushes, and whole trees that had fallen. It was fairly chaotic at my little scale house, to say the least. After 6 days of people hauling load after load to the green waste pile, over 200 TONS of green waste had been brought in by folks. And that doesn't even count the the BIG City dump trucks that were running full loads (which were not weighed) out of town to a spot of land where they can deal with the massive amounts later. Boulevards and alleys are still littered with stacks of branches and bushes as they wait for the city crews to make their way through the town to load them all and haul them away.

Comparatively, I got off fairly easily with just one large branch broken off my apple tree, and a medium sized branch off my Ohio Buckeye. The lilacs and pussy willow were flattened, and are just starting to try and pull up again. Bruce wrapped a ratchet strap around the willow to get them off the ground.

My little Mrs. Robin couldn't take the whole ordeal, and flew off, leaving her one cracked and frozen egg in the nest. I wonder if she'll be back, or if she's packed and headed for warmer climes, where you don't have to worry about our unpredictable Montana weather.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Good Old Fashioned Christmas

This is a pic of a painting by local artist David Swanson, borrowed from Facebook, of our town at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas, all! It feels like Christmases from years back around here, because we have had blizzard conditions in the last few weeks, just like when I was a kid.

Photo borrowed from Facebook.

The street crews were working round the clock for a few days because the wind was blowing so fiercely they couldn't keep any streets or roads clear.

 

We won the “lowest temp with windchill” game! It was wretched! I had never in my life had a “snow day” before last Monday, but they closed where I work, and kids weren't required to attend school if it was too difficult for them to get in.

Pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

Another area pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

This was at the beginning of the rough weather late last week. I took this photo as the deer came in to forage from the green waste pile at work, where it is easy pickins. A local brewery dumped their many bins of spent grain, and there were at least a dozen and a half deer having a smorgasbord there for several days. They just love it.

 

 

We all stayed snugly warm in the little scale house. Piper enjoyed watching the deer out the window, and Declan stayed all tucked in her blankies.

I didn't end up putting a lot of Christmas decorations out after all. The small storage room where I keep my holiday decorations is currently where all the more fragile, and non-mouse proof cabin goods are being kept. And there are bins upon bins stacked in there. I have beautiful Christmas stuff, and hate skipping a year of seeing it all, but it would have been plain old self abuse to try and man-handle all of that cabin gear to get to the decorations, to then man-handle all those tubs, boxes, and bins that hold the decorations. Then, in just a few short weeks, it would be time to go thru the whole process again to put it away. So, hopefully, next year the cabin will be finished enough to have all those tubs back where they belong at the little mountain house.

Here is what I did manage to scrounge up to add a little holiday cheer.

I kind of have a little “farmy” theme going here this year, because these do-dads were easily accessible. Santa and his jingle bell sheep, with a few pine trees, and an old plaid camp blanket.

Santa and his reindeer, just landed in the barnyard.

 

An old toy truck (from Bruce's boyhood), filled with bottle brush trees, and towing the cute little bird house trailer my Mom and Dad made me for Christmas a few years ago. (I will never put that sweet thing in the yard for the birds – selfish me……. Don't tell Santa shhhhhh.)

And the pretty antique deer family (that really belongs to my big little son, but I won't relinquish guardianship of them until he OWNS his own home, and I'm sure he couldn't give a hoot one way or another how long I keep them πŸ™‚ ) nestled in a bed of pine boughs, with a deer shed antler candleholder. I have a few other things scattered here and there, but not much to speak of compared to what I usually put out. I will be grateful for such a small amount when the time comes to “un-decorate” because it will take about 1/8 the time it normally takes me.

We will all be going to the farm for Christmas dinner. My poor Mom keeps getting stuck hosting all the Holiday dinners, even tho I argue and try to get them to come to my house. I'm sure she thinks that each holiday we are upon may be the last one spent at the farm, because they are still in the process of trying to sell it. It is a heart wrenching experience, and they are finding that potential buyers can be very mean and demanding people. They love their farm with all their hearts; it's not just a piece of property to them. That makes the whole process even more difficult. So, we will make more good Christmas memories at the farm; eat, drink, and be merry!

Merry Christmas and Glad Tidings to you all!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Lots Going On!

 

These big Ravens are really entertaining to watch while I'm at work.

We had a week of high 70's, low 80's temps. I was contemplating hooking up the little swamp cooler at work because it was getting pretty toasty in the afternoons. Glad I didn't jump the gun…..cuz after our tropical week, we were back to wearing parkas and cranking up the heaters. Welcome to Springtime in the Rockies!

A few days of cold and sloppy, then back to sunny Spring. Great traveling weather for a much anticipated event –

My big little son finally reached the finish line on his 4 long, hard years of college education. Bless his heart. He graduated on Saturday and, thank the Good Lord and all the Saints in Heaven, started a wonderful job the following Monday! And right where he hoped to be, here in Montana, in the middle of all the things he holds dear – skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, camping, and all the other treasures our area has to offer. Next hurdle is finding an affordable apartment, which is a trick these days, but thankfully he can commute from here for now, and can grab the right one when it pops up.

It was a nice graduation ceremony and a pretty day for a road trip.

 

Canyon Ferry lake was a pretty sight to take in; water so blue, and only a boat or 2 to be seen. Not many campers yet. They all come out of hibernation on Memorial Weekend.

We got to go to a flea market at the civic center in town a few weeks ago.

Not lots of stuff there, but it was fun looking.

 

 

That kind of starts the season off for rummage sales, auctions, and other fleas around here. I found only this “it's so ugly it's cute” 50's dolly that I got for the Cowboy and Indian bedroom.

We hope to go to a GIANT flea market they are having in northwestern MT later this Spring. We need to outfit the cabin kitchen, and I hope to do an unfitted kitchen with antique pieces for cabinetry. So, hopefully we will be able to hit the jackpot at this sale, and not have to worry about buying from antique stores and paying those inflated prices. And Bruce reminds me, a scenic, much needed road trip is always good for the soul! I fret when I have to go anywhere, but this time should be easier because the wild woollies are coming with us (which might be a fiasco in itself), and my big little son will be home to tend the antique cat, not that she needs much tending since she sleeps about 23 hours a day, but it's reassuring none the less. My good neighbor Eileen is the bestest critter sitter in the West, but it will be nice to not have to pester her. Getting gone for a few days will make Mr. Bruce very happy. He has to sort of pry-bar me out of my comfort zone. I'm one of those weirdos that likes to stay at my own little home, home on the range. I don't know how anyone could blame me when you have a view like this out your kitchen window!

 

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Bon Fire!

How about the low-down on some home town excitement? πŸ™‚

So, a few weeks ago, we were just getting ready to shut down shop for the day, and I glanced out the window toward the massive log pile we have at work. It is where the professional tree care people drop the BIG trees they've taken down. There was a little wisp of smoke, followed by a short puff of smoke…..I called for one of the fellas to come check what was going on…..then boom!, the whole center of the stack was in flames.

Thankfully, there was no one back there. The fire department was called and came right away.

The smaller brush, and grass, hay, and leaves were in separate but nearby piles.

So they brought big equipment out to push the other flammable materials away from the burning stack of wood.

 

 

It could have been quite the weeny roast / s'mores party if we had known to bring the goods ahead of time (just joshing – our firemen are very professional, safety minded folks, and would never allow such nonsense ;o ). No one knows what started the fire. Maybe a carelessly thrown cigarette, maybe spontaneous combustion; it's a mystery.

Once they got a handle on it and had the flames very manageable , they took advantage (since it was already burning) and added small amounts to the bon fire, a bit at a time, of all the other yard waste that has been piling up for over a year. It took several days, but now there is just a neat and tidy pile of cooled ashes back there. New green waste piles have been started, and there is lots of room for it, which is good, because it has already been coming in fast and furious this Spring. Folks started working in their yards in early March, which is unheard of around here, but Winter backed off extremely early, and everyone is getting after all their yard and garden chores!

This was big news in our little town; made the paper and everything!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Hang On To Your Hat!

Oh, the wind!!! Usually it simmers down toward the end of November, but it has run right into December this year. This sign I saw posted on Facebook just about covers it!

Nonetheless, it has been ever so beautiful on these wintery days. You can just about always count on that around here.

This was last Tuesday –

The next day was about a 180* turnaround –

 

 

This last photo is of the same trees in the first photo. It was so pretty at work…..blustery and cold, everything in shades of black, white, and grey. Then, a half dozen delicate little does and their babies appeared, trekking toward the trees and down to the river, breaking up the monotone landscape.

The next day was like a snow globe had settled, and it brought brilliant blue skies, and sparkling white mountains.

The Canadian Honkers were flying over by the hundreds before the storm set in. Many were landing in the fields nearby where grain had been harvested, taking advantage of what had been knocked off in the process.

Some took time to rest at the river, taking a break from fighting the wind.

When it gets so cold and windy, it tends to slow down a bit at work. It is so nice to have my silly girls to keep me entertained thru the day πŸ™‚

Must be like sitting on your Mom's lap when you're little. The buffalo gal just piles right on top of little Declan, and makes herself comfortable!

Piper taught herself to get up to the window so she can take a gander at all the goings on outside. That drawer is heated, so she pops up there, gets herself situated, and takes in all the happenings. Best spot in the house!

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Odds and Ends

Mr. Bruce is pretty much hating Apple right now. Since he is my blog technician, he is the one that has to deal with all the quirks, weirdness, and limitations we run into with my iPad on a regular basis. I have loads of pictures to share with you, and the iPad won't let me drop them to my photo library. So I am going to show you some older stuff before Bruce has to dump all my pics to the big computer, and they won't be available to me when I blog from the iPad.

We had a stretch of cool rainy weather a few weeks ago, which brought some nice photo opps.

It was cool enough one morning when I got to work, that I snapped this picture of the grass/leaves/hay pile, where our townsfolk drop their yard waste. It was just steaming away! That compost can get plenty warm when it is breaking down.

Just a week or two of very warm weather, and all this snow is gone from the Crazy Mountains. Thankfully, it was a manageable amount of run-off this year, and nobody was troubled with high water problems.

Sweet little Declan,being good at work as usual.

There is a BIG mud puddle right next to my little scale house, and these 2 flew in and bobbed around for awhile to keep Declan and I entertained one stormy day a few weeks ago.

 

There is a cement pad about 30 yards away from the scale house. One morning shortly after I got to work, these 2 carpenters showed up and got to work. A few of the Rural Firemen came and went, but these 2 carpenters were the fastest I have ever seen!

 

They had this structure knocked out in just over 3 hours.

The next day, it was a par-tay!

 

It turns out, this was a training module for the Rural Firefighters.

 

 

This is what was left the next morning.

Then they brought the back-hoe over, and knocked the whole works down, and hauled it to the transfer station to be taken to the landfill. At first I thought gosh, what a waste. But if it will help the fireman learn enough to save even one structure (not to mention maybe someone's life) then the whole exercise was certainly worthwhile!

Hopefully, Bruce will be able to remedy all the iPad issues, and I will have a batch of pics from the cabin and other stuff next week!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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