Friday, December 21, 2012

Morning Coffee On The Deck

©2012 Ken W. Hall   

©2012 Ken W. Hall 

©2012 Ken W. Hall 

©2012 Penny Hall 
Last Saturday we woke to three to four inches of snow.  Even though it was twenty-one degrees outside Ken suited up and camera in hand spent the next hour or so on the deck enjoying his morning coffee.

The woodpecker, finches, and numerous other birds joined him.  Some put on quite a show.

A couple of days later temperatures dropped to zero degrees.  We experienced some days of clouds, some of sunshine and many with strong winds.  The highest temps this week during the day have been in the twenties.

As you can tell, I prefer to have my morning tea inside where it is warm.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Just Love Ennis

©2012 Ken W. Hall    Rosemary Snow

©2012 Ken W. Hall    Bird Tracks

We enjoyed a little sunshine in Ennis today after several days of dark cloudy skies.  Without the wind it felt warmer than the high twenties.  Earlier in the week we received three or four inches of snow.  A light dusting of snow fell during the night but the weather man says we are not expecting much more for a couple of days.

On my way home just now I got caught in a traffic jam. A mother doe and her two fawns fearlessly crossed in front of my car.  Fortunately I was on a plowed street providing enough traction to stop easily.

I was thinking to myself how much I love living in this sweet small town having just witnessed a rare moment at the grocery store.   An older woman was walking very slowly on the icy parking lot when a cowboy got out of his pickup, took her by the arm and escorted her into the store.

Upon leaving the store I was awe struck by the beauty of the sun setting leaving a rare mixture of grey and pink over the snow capped mountains.  Then I was greeted by the deer a block from my house.  I am truly blessed.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Snow Last Night

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall
The photos and information below were sent to me today by my husband, Ken.  We enjoyed quite a treat this morning.

We've had no snow for quite a while now-until last night. We had gone to an event, the Chamber of Commerce Christmas event that began at 5:00 pm.
With the festivities in full swing someone glanced out the window at the lights. An old friend was visiting. Snow was falling in small flakes and there was lots of it. There was no wind so the magic was evident, quiet and peaceful.
We woke up this morning remembering yesterday's bird visits. The usual birds, finches, redpolls and a lone mountain jay feasted and chattered wildly in thanks for the seeds. We had not seen a jay for maybe two months. We commented that maybe it was left behind in the migration, sort of a bird without a purpose.
During our morning coffee and tea time suddenly we became aware of the purpose for yesterday's lone jay. He was a "scout". And then in races the flock of jays, probably 15 - 20 of them descended in mass. The smaller finches and all those of that size with flurried wings scattered to the wind…nowhere to be seen or heard.
What was different this time the jay hoard descended on the feeders was that they brought the summers young addition to the flock! Easily evident because of their rounded bodies, shorter beaks and sans the squeaking of the adults in the lead of this raid, the young ones were far less camera shy than the hardened adults. The jay families are of the crow family so the calls can be heard as they approach. 
This is why we share our "baby album" of our new family. May life be gentle to us all.

                                                                                                      --- Ken W. Hall

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stormy Weather

©2012 Ken. W. Hall

©2012 Ken. W. Hall

©2012 Ken. W. Hall

I am grateful temperatures are in the forties today.  The strong, relentless wind would not be bearable if the temperatures were colder.

These beautiful images were taken by Ken this morning when we took a short drive through Jeffers.  The wind has been relentless for two days now.  As you can tell, the skies are moody.

We could see the snow falling on the mountains in the distance while the dust blew across the valley beyond the herd of antelope.

I marvel at Ken's ability to see images in black and white before he shoots.  These are amazing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Posing Animals

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall
The animals seemed to take time to pose for Ken this afternoon as we took a leisurely drive around Ennis Lake.  The Buck and the Hawk stood perfectly still for what seemed like ten minutes or more.  I am sure it was only one or two minutes. It just seemed longer.

The north wind was blowing a light soft snow across the Madison Valley.  Heavy snow clouds covered the surrounding mountains.

The high today was about thirty-two degrees.  The snow continues to fall lightly as the sun gives way to the moon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunrise Magic

© 2012 Ken W. Hall

© 2012 Ken W. Hall

© 2012 Ken W. Hall

Early morning sunrise is my favorite part of the day.  This morning it was magical.  A hot cup of tea in hand I rushed outside and watched in awe as the sun peeked over the mountains.  The gentle breeze and 20 degree temperature eventually sent me back inside where it was warm.

The snow is melting.  Many of the streets in town are slick and icy.  But, the well traveled roads are almost totally clear.  It got up to the low forties today.  I noticed most of the snow is almost gone from the roof.  More snow is predicted for next week.

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Blizzard

© 2012 Ken W. Hall
This morning we woke to about a foot of snow.  It stopped for most of the afternoon but began again late afternoon and is still snowing.  I do not remember a time in our twelve years here in Ennis when the snow has been this deep.  I remember a time it came close but not like this.

Ken documented it and put together a slide show of images that can be viewed here.  The high today was in the twenties.  It is expected to be about 11 degrees tonight and two below on Saturday night.  Winter showed up early and with a real bang.

If you would like to know a little more about the weather in our area you can check it out here.  I will keep you posted.  Looks like we could get some more snow tonight.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Observing Mother Nature

©2012 Ken W. Hall  

©2012 Ken W. Hall 

©2012 Ken W. Hall 

"Today she teased me and she spoke. Mother Nature lured me into her reality. I drove thru light snow into the campground and was instantly greeted by raucous calls of the magpies.  At the water's edge I sat and wondered how many snow flakes and how many ripples make a day like today a reality. No answer so I drove out only to find my usual route back to the highway impaired.
Magpies were frantically feasting on a deer carcass obviously left by hunters. Screaming, talking and ripping morsels that would warm bodies in the coming hours. How long do morsels last in these  temperatures…seconds, minutes, hours? No matter She always feeds her own does Mother Nature. I drove on.
I rounded the bend and glanced at flashing feathers dancing on the beaver damn. Something known only to the magpies was lodged in the tangle of limbs, leaves and rocks at waters edge. It was quite this ballet of feather, snow and ancient traditions. The dance stopped and I drove on to the highway.
A quiet 'Thank You' to Mother and I was done and I headed back to the studio."
                                                                                                                                                -- Ken W. Hall
The above trip took place last week along the Madison River.  Today it was windy and fifty degrees when we woke.  Rain followed and continues to fall off and on.  The rain is much needed here.  Our weather predictions for this week include higher than normal temperatures.  We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

15 Degrees This Morning

©2012 Ken W. Hall
It snowed yesterday after Ken captured this image from the banks of the Madison River. A small dusting remains on the ground this morning.

We woke to fifteen degree weather.  When Ken went out to feed the birds you could hear the crunch of the icy snow under his feet.

Our cat Mystic normally stays out for an hour or so in the mornings.  Today he was out less than ten minutes.

The sky is blue and clear.  Temperatures are lower than normal and expected to only be in the forties for the high today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Snow Today

©2012 Ken W. Hall                                      
I know this photo does not fit the title, but my card reader is not working and I am unable to share my photos at the moment.

Ken was fascinated last week by this beautiful flower that survived the first frost and managed to bloom indoors.  Ken carefully placed backdrop paper behind the flower and using the light from the window created this lovely image.

Today it was in the twenties when we woke.  Then about 1:00 PM it began to snow.  The flakes were those beautiful large ones that float gently to the ground without a trace of wind.  It was so peaceful to watch.

For a brief time I thought it would stick but by late afternoon all traces of snow were gone.  It was a gentle reminder that winter is just around the corner.  And, the flower image is a reminder of the beautiful summer just past.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Along the Madison River

©2012 Ken W. Hall
Ken just sent me this lovely image from our walk along the Madison River yesterday.  It was windy and in the forties.  I noticed the colors were beginning to fade and the leaves were falling.  It felt good to spend time with the river.

This morning it was in the forties again with lots of wind and clouds.  We were blessed with some much needed rain.  Then the sun came out.  Right now it is sixty degrees and looks like it will be an awesome sunset.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Peace in Alder

©2012 Ken W. Hall    "Peace In Alder"
Ken just sent me this awesome image he took last week when he went to Alder, Montana.  The fall colors are beautiful.

It is definitely fall here in Ennis, Montana.  Temperatures are in the teens and twenties in the mornings and in the forties and fifties during the day.  Today it is a bit cloudy and windy.  It looks as if the smoke is back in the air as well.

I am grateful to be back home.  The birds in our yard are plentiful.  I am filling the feeders three times a day.  That always happens when the birds are migrating.  It will settle down when winter arrives.  I just want to enjoy fall first.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

© 2010 K. W. Hall           Half Sun

" Frozen in snow no deeper than eight inches, snow falling lightly the temperature began spiraling downward, twenty degrees and lower transitioned unexpectedly and in quick order. Having not been detained in Thanksgiving week 2110 on the shores of Ennis Lake I would have missed the blessing of one of the Creator's most miraculously choreographed operas ever. Could it have been for me alone. Why not! I am a part of everything that exists or ever will. I am ready." -- Ken W. Hall
This photo seems appropriate today.  I spoke with Ken this morning.  A cold front was just beginning to reach Ennis and temperatures were dropping to freezing.  Bozeman appears to have some snow and it sounds like snow and rain are expected in Ennis as well.  The highs for the next few days are predicted to be in the forties.

The much needed moisture is welcome.  Here in Arkansas that cold front will arrive on Saturday when I am scheduled to fly back home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

© 2011 Ken W. Hall     Fall Flame 

" Heralding the transition to winter with a vibrant palette, the red heartbeat of fall allows us to remember, reflect and  honor all that has blessed us through this year. In the solemn quiet of winter Creator will allow us to heal and prepare for the promised spring." -- Ken W. Hall

I spoke with Ken this morning.  He said the smoke is clearing a little due to a couple of recent rain showers.  The leaves are beginning to change color and fall is definitely in the air.  Temperatures contintue to be in the forties in the mornings and seventies during the day. I am grateful the smoke is clearing.

Here in Arkansas it is hot and humid.  Humidity is something I have not experienced in a long time.  It is supposed to get up into the nineties today.

I am grateful for the time with my family.  Mother will celebrate her eighty sixth birthday this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Buffalo Smoke

© 2009 Ken W. Hall                  Buffalo Smoke, Yellowstone National Park
I took my own image today to share with you documenting the ever present smoke that lingers in the air.  As I attempted to download it from my camera my card reader took its last breath.  I leave in the morning for Arkansas to visit my family so there is no time to get it fixed.

So, I began to look for one of the images I have from Ken.  This one is an old one worth sharing again.  The photo was taken in Yellowstone National Park.  A geiser is responsible for the smoke you see in the picture.

Ken was fishing in the park last week and said they did not see many animals.  That is unusual for this time of year but temperatures are above normal.

The smoke from the fires still hangs around.  There are times when it is so thick we cannot see the mountains.  Temperatures are in the thirties and forties in the mornings and eighties in the afternoons.  There is still no sign of rain.

I will be out of town for two weeks.  If time permits I will get a report from Ken and post it here.  If you do not hear from me just know I will be back with another post  after October 2nd.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feels A Bit Like Fall

© 2011 Ken W. Hall  
"Ranchers free range cattle into the forests for the summer and then begin preparation for winter by rounding them up and bringing them 'home' to the valley floor to endure winter while standing butt into the wind and sharing the warmth of like bodies of family. This is a generational tradition in Montana from family to family and ranch by ranch. This life is not for everyone, only for those of a higher calling chosen to protect  Creator's own."  -- Ken W. Hall

Ken just shared the above image and words with me to use here in my blog.  We have been super busy as summer gives way to fall.  Since I have not been able to get out and take many photos Ken offered to share some of the images
he is uncovering as he sorts through his archives after his fourth backup hard drive crash in two years.

Yesterday and today are awesome.  Temperatures are milder with a gentle breeze.  It was forty this morning and will likely reach into the mid to high seventies.  What is even more wonderful right now is the smoke, although ever present, wis not as bad as it has been.  We can see the mountains.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Madison River Brown Trout

© 2010 Ken W. Hall    Madison River Brown Trout  Fly Fishing Festival Poster image

This amazing image was taken by my husband, Ken Hall.  The Madison River Foundation chose it as their poster image for the Fly Fishing Festival August 31 through September 1, 2012.   Posters are available for sale through the foundation and the Ennis Chamber of Commerce.

A 36 x 24"  gallery wrapped canvas print of the original photograph will be auctioned off at the live auction during the Main Street BBQ dinner on Saturday evening.

Ken will be on hand at the Festival Saturday afternoon, 4 pm to 6 pm to autograph festival posters.

© 2003 Ken W. Hall   Limited edition "Ennis on the Madison" River image

The foundation is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.  The above image was also chosen for the first festival poster ten years ago.  A 36 x 24"  gallery wrapped canvas print of the original photograph will be auctioned off at the silent auction.  

Ken is also on the schedule as one of the speakers to teach a photography class which he teaches every year. It is always well attended.  He is such an amazing teacher.

In honor of the tenth anniversary Ken is offering a discount on all images purchased at the event.  Original prints of both festival poster images will be available for sale in our BearFeather booth at the festival.

Today the wind is blowing and smoke has again filled the valley.  About three days ago the wind shifted direction and blew the smoke out of the valley.  We were so grateful for the opportunity to spend more time outdoors.  It was great to see the mountains again.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Evening Grosbeak Breakfast Guests

© 2012 Ken W. Hall   Evening Grosbeak Breakfast Guest
In the wee hours of the morning this male evening grosbeak showed up with his mate and children for breakfast.  It is rare to see them and they only stay a few short minutes. What a joy they are to watch.

It was warmer this morning than yesterday.  As we were packing our car Saturday morning for the farmer's market I noticed the frost on the roof.  Our thermometer registered thirty two degrees.  This morning it was back to forty.

The smoke is heavy in the air again.  We are unable to see the mountains for the smoke.   Our warm season is so short we would prefer not to have so much smoke.  It keeps us indoors more than we would like.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ken's Art Show

Ken W. Hall Art Show at Maydak Gallery, Ennis, MT
The art walk was great fun Friday evening.  We enjoyed chatting with old and new friends.  Mike Maydak and Linda Newhouse were fabulous hosts.

This was the weekend of the annual gun show.  Things were hopping at Shed Horn Sports and we even met some folks who wandered across the street to see what was happening at the Farmer's Market.

The weather was in the eighties and nineties on Friday and Saturday.  Today is has been in the sixties and seventies due to a wonderful cloud cover.  What a lovely, lazy Sunday it has been.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Madison Valley Arts Festival

© 2012 Ken W. Hall

© 2012 Ken W. Hall
The Madison Valley Arts Festival was a smashing success.  Local musicians provided a day filled with fun and lively entertainment.

The organizers and volunteers did an amazing job.  The event was very well attended.  And the amazing talent displayed  by area artists was spectacular and inspiring.

A storm blew in Friday afternoon bringing strong winds and a good bit of rain.  We were all relieved the rain and storm had passed by the time we were ready to go set up for the event on Saturday morning.

Temperatures are in the nineties during the day and in the forties and fifties in the mornings.  We are beginning to see leaves turning on the willows and some of the trees.  It is a reminder that autumn is closer than we think.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Smoke Is In The Air

© 2012 Ken W. Hall

© 2012 Ken W. Hall
Another week has passed so quickly.  We are busy preparing for the Ennis Arts Festival this Saturday at Peter T's Park in downtown Ennis.

Temperatures have been hot this week.  Highs in the nineties and no moisture.  The winds were really strong yesterday from the south.  Last night the smoke in the air was so strong we kept the windows closed.

Ken took these images at lunch from our front yard.  As you can tell we can barely see the mountains through the smoke.  This morning when the sun rose it was bright orange.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Full Moon

©2012 Ken W. Hall  
Last night was full moon.  Ken captured this from our front yard.  I never cease to be amazed at our awesome skies here in Big Sky country.

The past few days have been a blur.  I took a trip to Idaho and Wyoming  scouting potential new galleries.  We displayed at the Farmer's Market and the 320 Guest Ranch Art Rendezvous.  Our last show at the ranch is coming up this Monday evening.

The weather has been hot.  Scattered afternoon showers have helped on the days the rain fell.  Yesterday we enjoyed lunch on our deck under the shade of our table umbrella.  We were so busy both of us forgot to lower the umbrella.  While preparing dinner I noticed our umbrella was gone.  A gust of afternoon wind must have caught it and carried it away.  Alas, it is nowhere to be found.

As always our morning temperatures are lovely in the fifty degree range.  By noon it is in the nineties.  Whenever I am tempted to complain about the heat I remind myself this is wonderful compared to the 100 plus temperatures with high humidity in other parts of the country.

There are so many things I love about our beloved Montana.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Heat, Rain, Art and Friends

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall

©2012 Ken W. Hall

I tried twice yesterday to get this posted.  I am not sure what is going on but it has disappeared twice while typing and now it is not working againSo if it looks funny chalk it up to little unseen guys trying to play tricks on me.

Last week was incredibly busy.  It began with an art show at the 320 Guest Ranch just outside of Big Sky, Montana.  We drove through heavy rain all afternoon.  It cleared just in time for the four hundred plus guests to enjoy the outdoor pig roast dinner and our indoor art show.

The weather cleared and temperatures reached into the mid nineties.  We relished our cool quiet mornings outside on our deck sharing breakfast with the birds and our cat.  Starting the day with mid-fifty to sixty degree temperatures is very nice.

Friday evening we attended the Ennis Art Walk where our good friend and artist Todd Connor was the featured artist at the Maydak Gallery that evening.

Ken made the Farmer's Market on Saturday sharing his amazing photos with the visitors.   We are proud supporters of our Madison Farm to Fork program.

In between all these events we entertained out of town guests and enjoyed wonderful times of sharing food, fun and laughter.

This week is off to another busy start.  I am off to Idaho and back through Wyoming.  Then we will be at Farmer's Market Saturday and back to the 320 Guest Ranch on Monday.  Summer is definitely here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Surprise Thunderstorm

©2012 Penny Hall 
Last night we woke to a loud thunderstorm that brought a brief but heavy rain and lots of lightening.  The hot dry land soaked it up immediately.  Things cooled down slightly after temperatures rose yesterday into the nineties. 

It was sixty degrees when we got up at 5:00 AM.  This afternoon I noticed the haze that lingers over the mountains.  Smoke from the fires in the states to the south of us is beginning to show up here.

It has been a busy time since the fourth.   We are enjoying out of town visitors.  In addition to the Saturday Farmers Markets we have several art shows for which we are preparing.  Monday night is the first of three we will do in the Big Sky area.

i love the hustle and bustle of summer, but I may have overloaded my schedule.  Oh, well, deep breath and concentrate on what I am doing now.  The rest will take care of itself.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July in Ennis, Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Ennis, Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Ennis, Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Ennis, Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Ennis, Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Ennis, Montana  
The weather was spectacular yesterday morning for the annual fourth of July parade in Ennis, Montana.  As you can tell cars are parked for blocks and blocks.  People line both sides of main street to celebrate our independence and enjoy the fun and colorful parade.  Some travel from as far away as Florida for the festivities that normally include a rodeo in Ennis and evening fireworks in nearby Virginia City, Montana.

Dry conditions along with multiple fires in the state caused a ban or fireworks.  So, no show in VC.  But, that did not seem to stop folks from keeping up their annual tradition of celebrating their holiday here.

By the time the afternoon rolled around it was in the high eighties and low nineties.  This morning we woke to a solid cloud cover, scattered showers and temperatures in the forties with highs in the sixties.  The cooler weather was a welcome relief to those of us without air conditioning. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fires in Southwest Montana

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Pony Fire

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Pony Fire

©2012 Ken W. Hall  Pony Fire
This has been a difficult week for our neighbors in Pony, Bear Trap Canyon, Whitehall, and Helena.  Fires broke out in all these areas just as we were experiencing some of the worst winds of the season with gusts up to fifty miles per hour.

Firefighting efforts were grounded due to the winds and in some cases not much could be done.  Today it is calmer.  Perhaps the fire fighters will make more progress toward containing these fires.

Some were caused by lightening but the Bear Trap Canyon fire was set by fireworks.  It has burned one home and thousands of acres.  Our beautiful drive to Bozeman is changed for many years to come.

You can get local updates on the fires from The Madisonian on the Bear Trap Fire and the Pony Fire and our local television station.

Temperatures have been above normal reaching into the mid to high nineties during the day.  The forecast for the next three months is above average temperatures and dry conditions.