Friday, December 31, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Photo by Penny Hall,  my work table

Photo by Penny Hall, ice on the window
It was about ten below zero when we woke this morning.  Ice formed around the metal windows and sliding glass door.  The door froze shut and the lock on the front door froze as well.

Needless to say I am happy to be indoors working in my studio.  It is warm and cozy inside.  Outside the birds are busy dining at the feeders and the deer are cleaning up any seeds that fall to the ground.

The mother deer has been tilting one of the feeders and emptying it.  I think I managed to place it high enough to prevent that from happening again.  So far it seems to be working.

It is hard to tell exactly how much snow we got from the storm.  The wind blew constantly.  I would guess it was somewhere between two and three inches.

Today skies are clear and the wind is silent.  The cat however is complaining loudly.  The cold weather interrupted his normal routine and he is not happy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pink Sunrise

Photo by Penny Hall
Photo by Penny Hall

Christmas day we woke to a magnificent pink sunrise.  We marveled at the weather.  It was beautiful, clear and in the mid thirties.  It was not your normal weather for December.  Travel for our guests was a breeze.

The wind has blown steady for several days now.  Actual temperatures were in the low thirties but the wind made it feel much colder.

As you can tell by the second photo a storm is headed our way.  The wind is howling and light snow is beginning to fall.  Temperatures are in the mid to high twenties. 

I have been busy taking trash to the dump, buying groceries and getting packages in the mail before the storm hits.  The weather man predicts between six and ten inches of snow.  Temperatures are expected to drop as low as 21 degrees below zero tomorrow night. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Could Be A White Christmas

An inch of snow fell last night in downtown Ennis.  Virginia City Ranches reported about four inches.  As you can tell our roads in town are still ice and snow covered from the last snowfall.

The thermometer on the car said it was twenty-seven degrees when I headed out to the post office a few minutes ago.  The sun is shining bright and melting snow from the roof and driveway.  It feels much warmer especially since there is no wind.

Looks as if Christmas day will be a lot like today.  That is good news for family traveling from Bozeman. 

Christmas is almost here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Artist Appreciation Show

Over night Donna Evans and Kathy Carpenter transformed the old bank building downtown into a temporary art gallery showcasing the incredible talents of our local artists.  Last night the artists gathered from three in the afternoon until eight in the evening to greet the public.

No one seemed to mind the lack of attendance by the "public".  Art has a way of warming hearts, lifting spirits and stimulating positive creative conversations and ideas.  This local family of artists came together to celebrate life through creative self expression.

Surrounded by magnificent works of art we quickly forgot the light snow and thirteen degree weather outside.  We were too busy sharing our own journey and encouraging each other in spite of life's challenges to follow the spark of the divine within and share the beauty of life through art.

We came together for a reception.   We left with a warm glow in our hearts somehow changed by the experience. 

Thank you Kathy and Donna for listening to the voice that led all of us to this little slice of heaven in the midst of a cold winter.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Heading South

 Photo by Photographer Ken W. Hall

Ken captured the Madison River on his way through Bear Trap Canyon to Bozeman on Saturday.  Snow abounds in the Madison Valley as well as the Gallatin Valley.

Today we have been busy preparing to head south to Texas for a wedding in Ken's family.  I will post again when we return next week.

It is thirty- five degrees outside now.  The wind has blown steady and hard all day long.  The sunshine was a welcome sight.

A new storm is headed our way and should add more snow to the area starting Friday.  If all goes well it will have passed by the time we return on Tuesday evening.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Morning Snow

Photo by photographer Ken W. Hall

Yesterday it was snowing when we got up.  Ken took this just before sunrise.  The storm left a couple of inches of snow and passed through.  By noon temperatures were in the high thirties.  The higher temperatures and lots of sunshine helped melt some of the accumulated snow.

The lack of wind was welcome as we prepared for the annual Christmas stroll.  A small group of artists gathered in the old First Madison Valley Bank building downtown to offer our hand made gifts for holiday shoppers.

The event was well attended as children of all ages enjoyed hay rides, Santa, refreshments, shopping and fun in downtown Ennis, Montana.

Temperatures dropped overnight into the single digits and soared to a  whopping nineteen degrees this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow and Wind

 Photo by photographer Ken. W. Hall 

  Photo by photographer Ken. W. Hall 

 Photo by photographer Ken. W. Hall 

Yesterday was wonderful.  It was the first day without wind and there was plenty of sunshine.  Today is a different story.  The wind is strong and the skies are filled with clouds.  The high was twenty degrees which feels like just below zero.

The Madison river has gorged.  Ken took the above photo at the campground the day before it flooded.  The first photo is Ennis Lake at sunset.

There is more snow in the forecast for the weekend.  Looks like I will be spending lots of time in my studio and office.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Ennis

This is the coldest Thanksgiving I have ever experienced.  It was just below zero when we got up to put the Turkey on to cook.  The wind was already blowing and blew hard all day.  Factoring in the wind it felt as if it were 34 below.

Our dear friend finally arrived safely after being stranded for two nights due to closed highways.  He traveled  more than a thousand miles to be with his "family" bringing gifts of, love, joy, poetry and creative excitement.

As our extended family began gathering to share a Thanksgiving feast of delicious food and creative  fellowship, I reflected on the never ending list of things for which I am deeply grateful.  

We are blessed to live so closely connected to mother nature's ever changing landscape.  Her bounty of birds and animals drift in and out of our lives providing us with endless joy and entertainment.  Then there are those special moments when like magic Ken captures a blink of God's eye with his camera's lens to preserve and share.

I am deeply grateful for all our friends who lovingly support our creative efforts, admiring, purchasing and collecting our art.  They help us share the healing touch only God's creation can provide.

Ken and I are blessed to enjoy our small community along the Madison River surrounded by a growing family of friends that extends to all parts of the United States and beyond.

I am filled to overflowing with gratitude for life.

Thank you for being a very special part of mine.

Penny's Thanksgiving Gift

As token of my appreciation to all our friends and collectors I am offering a 10% discount on all purchases form now until December 31, 2010.  Use coupon code HOLIDAYS2010 at checkout here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Snow

It is just after 4:00 PM and still snowing.  It's been snowing since about 9:00 AM.  Above you are looking out the sliding glass door to our back porch.  The blur on the left of the photo is the ice on the glass.  It is about five degrees below zero.  Our high was three above when we got up this morning.

As you can tell by the photo that drift is rather deep.  It reaches the top of the porch and those trash can lids.  It is supposed to get much colder tonight.  I can feel it getting colder outside.  The windows are getting ice on them.

Our friend from New Mexico was due to arrive today for Thanksgiving.  He is enjoying an unscheduled stop in Pocatello, Idaho.  He stayed there last night and will stay again tonight since the roads have been closed all day and will continue until sometime tomorrow when the blizzard stops long enough for plows to go through.

This is quite a storm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Winter Storm

Another winter storm is just now arriving after a day free of wind and snow.  It was three degrees when we woke this morning.  At 2:00 PM it was nine degrees. 

Right now it is just past 4:30, snowing and the wind is blowing.  Predictions are that our high on Thanksgiving will be below zero.

Thank goodness it is warm and cozy inside.  Time for another cup of hot tea.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yesterday and Today



Yesterday we were busy preparing for the predicted storm.  Temperatures stayed in the low thirties most of the day.  The absence of wind was welcome as we rushed to complete our errands before the arrival of the arctic air.

Snow fell all day yesterday and continued into the night.  We woke this morning to ten degree temperatures and about four inches of snow.  

It continues to snow now.  They are predicting as much as twelve inches in town and two feet in the passes.  Temperatures are expected to drop to below zero with highs in the single digits the day before Thanksgiving.

The birds have been feeding all day long.  I filled the feeders twice.  

One of my friends further north reported three feet of snow.  I think winter is here to stay.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Then It Snowed

The snow arrived on Monday and fell off and on all week.  It was not too bad in town but out near the Fish Hatchery they got about four inches.

Temperatures were in the teens at night and the low to mid thirties in the day.  It snowed again today and more is expected for the next few days.

Winter is here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Visit To Yellowstone National Park

Photo by Ken W. Hal, title "Hebgen Jewels"

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Photo by Ken W. Hall
Saturday we headed into Yellowstone National Park before it closed for the season on Monday.  It was amazing.  We were the only car at the entrance.  The few visitors we saw were out enjoying the park on foot.

There was a guy parked by the Madison Ricer sitting in his lawn chair reading a book.  There were kids playing with their dogs.  Fishermen were everywhere taking advantage of the sixty degree weather and soft gentle breezes.

The crows were missing the plentiful treats provided by the summer visitors.  The guy in the photo above was moving from widow to window looking for something to eat.  Still seeking attention and food when we returned to our car we shared a few seeds from our trail mix.

We were blessed to be one of the first visitors to enjoy the newly completed viewing station for Gibbons Falls.  It is breathtaking.  The sound of rushing water over the rocks is so powerful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photo by Ken W. Hall

The Natural World in its balance, form, color and dynamics is ever captivating and sometimes shocking. It is always in our face by some means. This morning, halloween,  I was in the studio when the door opened and Penny entered. "There is a big bird out there, get your camera!"

Having had Penny for spotter, guide and wife for sixteen plus years I know when she follows her intuition. It was happening again. With camera in hand ready for the "safari" to the front of the house I quickly set footsteps one after the other.

Low and behold, once again she connected me with a "natural happening". Perched on a limb in our "forest" in the front yard was a bird I witnessed on more than one occasion…the most recent in a bullet like flight at a speed barely able to capture in the blink of a human eye. The feathered rocket had tracked a bird in flight and was giving terminal chase to what was soon to become a meal.

It was our resident Sharp Shinned hawk, prey in talon sitting on our front grass patiently waiting for the capture to expire which it did in a very short time. By instinct the hawk bolted into a juniper tree to feast.

Some exposures were made through the living room window but with only blurred and non recognizable resolution. Knowing full well this was a rare and sacred moment I gently turned the door knob to the outside and quietly set a initial step onto the deck. Were eye to eye and soul to soul twenty feet apart…the hawk with its natural prey and I with a fistful of technology.

As the bird continued with laser surgical precision to feather by feather and flesh by flesh shred and consume the small bird I could sense its enhanced restlessness, knowing full well flight soon was to explode and the experience would be only a fleeting memory in the ozone. With several bursts of camera clicks and whirs there were images and the explosion of the hawk with tattered remnants of prey speeding in flash into the unknown of the future.

It was finished, over and done except for the graciousness of the Creator and the restless patience of the hawk. I stood there with technology in hand and food for my soul. With these I introduce you to my world of hawks, wisdom and expansion of experience.

- Photo and words by Ken W. Hall

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Visitor

Photo by Ken W. Hall

This little guy stopped by several times this week.  A hawk dropped in this morning.  The rush to eat as much as possible before the rain created quite a show.

Our week began with wind, clouds and a few snow bursts.  The mountains were showered with white snow.  Yesterday the sun was out and the wind silent.  We took a lovely ride in the mountains nearby.

Today it is raining.  Temperatures continue to be above normal.  We are expected to experience temperatures in the mid forties to low fifties again this week.  I am loving this amazing weather.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Unexpected Company

 Photo by Ken W. Hall

 Photo by Ken W. Hall

 Photo by Ken W. Hall

"We had unexpected company for a meal with us…they just dropped in unannounced. We hadn't seen the new baby so the miracle was truly amazing to behold. There was Mom, Dad and The Little One.
They didn't stay long, just a quick meal on sunflower seeds and then a melding into the night. With this they were gone.

The Dad was regal in his finest male adornment, the Mother soft and gentle and the Little One ever present with curious and new found wonder of life. I know they were sent just for me for I have been searching and longing for 'curious wonder of life for myself.' Some say, "seeing is believing."  What I saw was a bundle, a spiritual bundle carefully wrapped with tradition, magic and 'the curious wonder'. The amazing thing was I didn't see it with my eyes, I saw it with my heart."

My prayer is that we all will remember to see with our hearts and remember with our souls.

Words and Photos by Ken W. Hall

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unhappy Moose

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Raised hackles gave Ken a clear message his presence was not appreciated.  The moose was clearly not in the mood to have her picture taken.

The moose was spotted chowing down on the side of the road as we traveled to Big Sky earlier this week.  Several people stopped to marvel at the rare sight of such a magnificent animal.

We are spending as much time as possible outside walking and enjoying this weather.  Temperatures are in the mid to high twenties in the mornings and in the low sixties to mid seventies later in the day.

Leaves are turning color and slowly falling. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beautiful October

Photo by Ken W. Hall

What an amazing week it has been.  We experience our first hard freeze earlier in the week.  It was so much better than last year.  This week it was only in the twenties.  

Last year this time we were shocked by below zero temperatures and snow.  We are happy to enjoy these warm, beautiful days.

The rest of the week improved in temperature waking to high thirties and low forties.  We enjoyed a couple of days around seventy.

Yesterday it never rose above fifty.  A soft rain spinkled on us most of the day then poured as we went to bed.  This morning it is cloudy and the mountains appear to have received a dusting of snow.

What a beautiful October.  I love the colors in the sky this time of year.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Breakfast Guests

"Yesterday morning we had company for breakfast!

This is not the first time she has joined us for a meal.

Today she was dressed in her newest winter outfit, even as new and untidy as it appears.

She didn't linger, just sampled the plants and moved on. Just as well, our cat Mystic was on a mission when he sensed her presence and bounded onto the window sill where he holds court and observation.

Our friendliest neighbors are multiple deer, four raccoons, a lone skunk and a river full of brown and rainbow trout. If I remember correctly, there are some humans in the vicinity as well although they are not as interesting and they have a lot of nothingness to speak when approached.

We must be doing something right to be blessed with all this."

Comments and photos by Ken W. Hall

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Skies

The fall skies welcomed me Tuesday evening when I returned home from a visit with my family in Arkansas for my mother's birthday last week.

Wednesday morning it was thirty-eight degrees when I woke.  The high was seventy-two and the weather was amazing.

This morning about three-thirty a raccoon came crashing down from a tree with our bird feeder in hand and roused us from our peaceful slumber.

It rained last night and temperatures remained in the forties.  It looks as if we will have another awesome day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Colors

Photo by Ken W. Hall

Ken just sent me this photo he took on our drive a few days ago.  The colors are even more vivid now.  The leaves are falling fast.

The weather is amazingly warm and perfect.  Temperatures are in the forties and fifties at night and the seventies and eighties in the daytime.

I am loving the sunshine and gentle breezes.  The sunrise and sunset colors this time of year are vivid and spectacular.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Morning Blessing

Photo by Ken W. Hall, title: "Morning Blessing"
 Ken just sent me this photo he took this glorious morning.  It sums up the beauty of this warm, calm sun shinny day.  Here are his own words:

"We arose to the majesty of another Montana sunrise…soft light filtering through the fur trees in the back yard.  In quiet reverence the hollyhocks stood next to the back fence and opened widely, excited to the new day. Here in this moment they were bathed in the soft transparent caress of love."

I took this lesson with me after the shoot, "No matter what the day brings in the hours to come, I have had this moment of being touched by the Creator!"
                                                                                            - Ken W. Hall

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ken Catches His First Artctic Grayling

Ken went fishing last week in the Ruby Valley with his friend C. G. Feldman.  Ken caught his first Arctic Grayling and C.G. recorded the event with these photos.  The weather was spectacular that day.

Here in the Madison Valley it was cloudy and windy.  Today we woke to forty degrees and late this afternoon it was seventy.

It looks as if we are in for a week of fabulous weather as we ease into fall.  The leaves are turning and some are falling.  Summer passed way to fast.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Harvest Time

Last Friday I had the pleasure of helping out with our new Farm to Fork program.  Our forth and fifth grade students planted a garden in May and Friday morning they harvested their corn, squash and potatoes.

As you can tell it was cool after the rain the night before.  In spite of the mud the kids eagerly dug up potatoes, plucked and shucked corn and picked pumpkins.

We cooked the corn so they could taste the fruits of their labor.  I have never seen so many happy faces.  They were talking about how it was the best corn they ever ate and how much fun they were having.

Tomorrow morning Janet and I will take their corn husks into the class room to share with them the Native American legend of why the corn husk doll has no features.  Then we will teach them how to use the husks to make corn husk dolls.

Today it is a bit breezy and in the high sixties.  Yesterday it was seventy-three degrees and almost no wind.  I enjoyed walking and getting some sun and fresh air.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fallen Boulder

Ken just sent me these photos from our trip last week to view the damage from the fallen boulder.  You can see how much lower the lake and river levels are while they work to repair the damage.

Today the weather is awesome.  It is about seventy-one degrees and the sun is shining.  Earlier in the week we had rain, clouds and wind.  Temperatures barely rose above sixty.

A few minutes ago I had the pleasure of watching an osprey catch a fish from the river at Lion's Park.  They will soon be migrating for winter. 

The moisture this past week dumped a fair amount of snow on the mountains.  I heard the elk are coming down.  Summer was so short this year I am not ready for winter but it is sure to arrive.

Monday, September 6, 2010

No Boats On Ennis Lake Today

Ken and I have been busy with the Fly Fishing Festival.  Rainy weather moved in early last week but cleared for the two days of the event.

It was well attended and we met so many wonderful people who stopped by our booth.  For the first time an Ennis resident won the boat the Madison River Foundation raffles off for the event.

Today it was sixty-five degrees when we took a drive to Ennis Lake.  Last Monday a boulder fell damaging the dam below Ennis Lake.  The water level was lowered by four feet making it possible to walk on foot out to Diamond Rock.

You can read more about the dam at