Sunday, December 28, 2008

White Christmas

I was awakened in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of snow plows. Daylight confirmed that six inches of snow had fallen during the night.

Ken and his nephew went out to shovel snow. Neighbors came to help using their snow blowers to clear a path behind the car so we could begin our journey home.

The roads were snow packed and icy. Light snow fell and we kept a slow and steady pace returning to Ennis by 11:00 AM.

One old timer said he had not seen snow like this in Ennis since 1945.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas eve Ken and I set off for Bozeman to celebrate the holiday with his sister, nephew and his wife. Temperatures were in the teens.

The wind blew sheets of snow as we traveled over Norris hill. At times visibility was zero.

Through the canyon the skies became partly cloudy. The wind continued to blow snow but visibility was good.

The partly frozen Madison River formed rushing white water rapids in the open areas with occasional small waterfalls.

During the eight years we have lived here we have never seen this much snow with predictions of more to come in the next few days. This is an amazing winter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Is That In The Bird Feeder?

We have had some unusual visitors to our bird feeders this week. Ken caught this deer when she discovered her nose fit inside the openings in the gazebo behind her.

A few hours earlier I was looking at the same feeder trying to figure out what was inside it. Turns out it was the neighbor's cat having a snack of birdseeds.

Cold temperatures and snow are causing the animals to search hard for food and shelter.

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ice on Ennis Lake

Wednesday morning it was twelve degrees. The sun came out in the morning so Ken took his sister for a drive around the lake.

He said the lake was so smooth it looked like icing on a cake. This was very different from years past.

Here is a photo he got of diamond rock.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Diamond Rock December 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Colder Still

Tuesday morning the river was flowing steadily through the campground. The steam rising from the water shows you where the river is exposed and moving.

At twenty-four degrees below zero the steam creates the most beautiful ice crystals on the trees.

The high for the day was seven degrees below zero.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Early River Gorging

Monday morning it was eighteen degrees below zero. At nine in the morning the river showed signs of possible gorging. I took this first photo that shows steam rising from the exposed water. There was only one patch of accumulated ice on the bank in front of me.

Ken picked me up at three in the afternoon and we drove over the bridge toward the campground. The car said it was fourteen below zero when Ken got out of the car on the south side of the bridge to take the next two photos. The ice on the river was piling up.

A sweet man in a pick up stopped to see if we needed help.

The campground was filled with water that had reached the entrance. Efforts to protect Lions Park from yet another flooding had sadly failed. It too was under water until spring.

It is amazingly still when the ice silences the sound of the flowing river. The only sound is the popping and cracking of the ice in the sub zero cold.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Fishing

Saturday morning the high for the day was twenty-four degrees. Blowing snow and blizzard like winds made travel difficult.

Ken captured the town fisherman when we ventured out to the grocery store.

Birds flocked to our feeders devouring the sunflower seeds. A flicker, woodpecker and chickadee joined the house finches and sparrows.

Conditions worsened and it was ten below zero when we retired for the day.

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Icy Frost

The fog rolled in early Tuesday morning with temperatures around ten degrees.

Ice crystals formed on everything and sparkled like diamonds as the sun began to rise.

Temperatures rose slightly during the day but never got above thirty. It was cold, windy and beautiful.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Morning Surprise

We woke to snow this morning. It was beautiful and still. It feels so peaceful after a snowfall.

When I left for work it was twenty-eight degrees. The snow beneath my tires was wet and slippery.

The thermometer in the car registered twenty-five degrees when I returned home at four this afternoon. The roads were still snow covered, packed and icy.

The weatherman says it will be ten below zero by the weekend. We knew winter would arrive soon. Looks like it is planning a grand entrance.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pink Sky

It was eighteen degrees when I got up yesterday. The skies were clear and temperatures remained cold. Twenty degrees was the high according to our thermometers.

When I came home in the afternoon I heard the birds chirping in the trees. They were thanking me for the black oiled sunflower seeds I put out for them the day before.

Last night Ken grabbed his camera to catch the sunset. The sky was pink. By the time he got outside the light had shifted from the position he had hoped to capture. He managed to catch this just before the light disappeared.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Dream World

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rain, Then Snow

Yesterday morning it rained then later in the evening we watched snowflakes fall. There is something so magical about watching snow fall.

It was twenty-five degrees this morning with tiny little snowflakes falling until almost noon. There were patches of ice on the roads. The sun began to poke through the clouds and we could see blue sky by midday.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits tonight.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Above Normal Temperatures

I read an article in the Bozeman paper reporting that temperatures so far this fall are averaging ten degrees above normal.

It also mentioned that that the snow packs were the same as last year. This is good since last year was the closest to normal the valley had seen in a few years.

Here is another shot Ken got on one of our awesome days.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Migration of the Soul

Friday, November 28, 2008

Light Snow

We woke to a light dusting of snow last week. Temperatures ranged from the low twenties to the low forties all week long.

It was eighteen degrees on Thanksgiving morning. A heavy frost covered everything like a light blanket, but the sun was bright and the skies clear. The high for the day was thirty-nine.

Here is a photo I took of last week’s snow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Lovely Autumn

©Ken W. Hall, BearFeather Studio      title: Circle of the Elders

The weather has been so nice Ken has been out with camera in hand capturing on film the things only he sees.

Here is another one he just shared with me.

It has been such a lovely autumn.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Circle of the Elders

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Sunset

The next day I joined Ken on a journey back to his new found trail. The temperature was in the high forties but the wind made it feel much colder.

We found large trees downed by beavers and scattered small groups of deer.

Hawks and eagles flew overhead as we made our way along the rivers edge.

The day ended with this awesome sunset. This time of year the sunsets are more vivid and alive with colors and movement. I just love watching them.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Revelation

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Discovery

Ken discovered a new trail on Saturday and returned home with exciting tales of his journey.

This amazing shot was one of many he captured along the way.

I never cease to be amazed at what he sees through the lens of the camera.

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Visitors

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Different Kind of Fall

It was fifty-five degrees when our friends left after nine in the evening. The wind was blowing as we discussed the unusually warm weather for this time of year.

The skies moved from cloudy to partly cloudy all week as temperatures ranged from the low thirties to the mid fifties.

As you can tell by the grass in my photo the wind has been ever present. Even with the warmer temperatures the snow-capped mountains remind us that winter is just around the corner.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ennis Arts Association Meeting

My feet slipped on the invisible thin coat of ice on the deck. It was twenty-two degrees when I got up. Now the sun was melting the frost as we hurried to cart computers, television and prints to the church in Jeffers.

More than thirty people attended the Ennis Arts Association meeting to hear Ken’s presentation on digital photography. Several people stayed and listened intently as Ken explained the process of taking the image captured in the camera to a file ready to be printed.

It was two thirty when we began to load the car to leave. The sun was gone, the temperature in the forties. The strong wind carried the dark clouds that hid the sun. The rain was sure to follow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Magnificent Day

It was so quiet and still until I heard the loons calling to each other. The absence of wind and people made our Sunday morning journey one I will not soon forget.

The river was as smooth as glass. You could see amazing details in the reflections in the water.

Our journey began with a nod from the bald eagle perched in the tree as we passed. A flock of geese flew overhead followed by trumpeter swans.

Ken interrupted the work of a beaver and watched as it slid off the bank to the safety of the water.

King fishers, mergansers, dippers and cat birds all made their presence know as we drove and walked along the river’s edge.

A group of mule deer fearlessly crossed our path as me made our way back into town.

It was thirty-eight degrees, cloudy and awesome. What a magnificent day.

photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Family Ties

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Not A Cloud In The Sky

The evening of the historic election we watched huge snowflakes fall gently. There is something so peaceful about watching snowfall, even if it is only for five minutes.

Strong winds greeted me the next morning when I left the house. Temperatures stayed in the thirties then dropped later that evening to twenty-eight.

Thursday morning it was twenty-two degrees when I woke but not a cloud in the sky. The day remained sunny and cold.

I took an elderly friend of mine for a drive around the lake. It felt so good to see everything bathed in sunlight.

Just as we rounded diamond rock I snapped this photo of the lake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Snow on the Mountains

Sunday morning it was in the low forties when we woke. There was a steady breeze all day and it rained off and on all day.

We spent the day finishing projects inside that had not been completed since we moved.

Monday was partly cloudy. When the sun came out you could see the snow capped mountains. I love how they look all covered in snow.

Ken's more powerful lens captured a closer look than my point and shoot camera.

photo by Ken W. Hall, title: Fan Mountain Montana

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hallowen Magic

Friday morning while making my second cup of tea I looked out the window and saw the most amazing sunrise. It was electric and so fitting for Halloween.

I rushed outside with my camera in hand so I could share with you the magic of what I was seeing. Well, I fumbled and worked and had so many challenges all the while Ken was trying to tell me what to do. Finally, he rushed in like my knight in shining armor.

He pulled out his “Big Bertha” lens and captured this amazing image. So, courtesy of Ken here is a glimpse of the magic that morning.

I just love the sunrises this time of year.

Photo by Ken W. Hall , title: Prelude

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here Come the Deer

Tuesday was an awesome fall day. We woke to 23 degrees. Throughout the day the sun shown bright and by mid afternoon the temperature had reached 74 degrees.

During the day I encountered a large group of deer hanging out in town. I think I counted twenty-three in the group.

It is normal to see deer wandering through town this time of year. The thing that is unusual is the size of the groups. I remember seeing as many as six or seven together in town but never a group this size.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Sunday Outing

Sunday morning it was 23 degrees when we got up. It was such a gorgeous day we decided to take a walk. Heading out the door a blast of wind convinced us a drive was a better option. So, we took a nice drive around the lake.

Two bald eagles greeted us as we drove through bear trap canyon to the spillway. We saw lots of deer, antelope and ducks along our journey.

Ken stopped long enough for me to get this shot of the canyon. Yes, the photos in this blog are mine. But, I think from time to time Ken might allow me to use a few of his images. I will let you know when I use his but I am certain you can tell the difference.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Annual Hunters Feed

Friday we joined our friends downtown on Main Street for the 23rd Annual Hunters Feed. It welcomes the hunters and gives locals who have been busy all summer a chance to chat and catch up.

Local retailers cook up their favorite wild game recipes and offer samples. Everyone is given a ballot to vote for his or her favorites.

Among the dishes we sampled were Bail Out Chili, Sarah Palin's Moose Stew, Elk Loin Sandwiches, Cranberry and Duck Sausage Pizza, and Antelope Lumpia.

Pictured here are the owners of the Ennis Trading Post sharing samples of their delicious Elk Stew.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Beaver Is Back

Wednesday afternoon Ken and I took a break and went for a long walk through the campground. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing. People were out fishing, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

A fellow walker informed us that the beaver is back. He was here a couple of years ago but the river gorged and he lost his home.

We stopped to investigate. He appears to be attempting to cut down a huge cottonwood. We will have to check in on him from time to time to monitor his progress. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Fog Rolled In

Monday morning the fog rolled in and settled in the valley. It is such a delightful thing to watch. Ken was out the door early with his camera to capture the magic on film.

By noon the fog had lifted in town. You could see it lingering at a distance with the tips of the mountains poking through what looked like puffs of cotton candy.

Tuesday it was cloudy all day. Tiny snowflakes and ice pellets fell off and on throughout the day but were barely noticeable.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Love This Time of Year

I love this time of year. Saturday and Sunday were spectacular. We woke to temperatures in the low forties and enjoyed highs in the low to mid seventies.

Outdoor activities were a priority. When I went for my Saturday morning walk I noticed the fly fishermen were out early.

Ken raked the leaves in the yard while I sewed curtains for our new home.

We enjoyed eating lunch on our deck and watching Mystic, our cat, exploring his new territory.

Friday, October 17, 2008

After the Storm

It's Friday morning and the temperature is 42 degrees. They are predicting a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday morning only a few patches of snow remained after the storm. As I arrived at Lions Park to walk I was delighted to find it surrounded by young people supervised by several adults. While I watched one boy caught a huge fish. Everyone gathered round him to watch and celebrate as photos were taken of the big catch of the day.

I asked a couple of the students if it was a field trip but the answers were vague. Whatever the purpose it was wonderful to see so many young people enjoying themselves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Winter Storm

Just as we were admiring the beauty of the fall colors a howling winter storm rolled into our peaceful valley. The weather men warned us, but no one seemed to believe them until it hit.

Snow and wind blew for three days. The lowest temperature drop was 16 degrees. I think the highest was near 40 degrees.

One long time resident reported Norris hill was the worst it has ever been.

I don't remember this kind of storm in October. We sometimes get snow but I don't remember it ever being like this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What are the winters like?

If you visited the peaceful Madison Valley in the spectacular big sky country of Montana you probably asked someone, “ What are the winters like?” My husband and I answered that question by staying one winter in 2000 and never left.

Each summer as we talk with visitors and summer residents the question always seems to find its way into the conversation.

So, for my old friends, new friends and those I have yet to meet, I am creating this journal.

I invite you to join me on a journey through winter. I will share my Montana moments through words and images as an artist living life in rural Montana.

We begin in mid-October of 2008.

Follow me and find out what the winter is like.