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.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Evening at Sun Ranch

Photo by Penny Hall

Photo by Penny Hall

Photo by Penny Hall

Yesterday we had the pleasure of participating in a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Madison River Foundation.  The owners of the Sun Ranch were gracious enough to allow the foundation to hold this event at their lodge.

Ken produced a DVD presentation documenting the first ten years of the organization.  We were there at the beginning and have watched it grow and expand its scope.  The DVD was a beautiful honoring of the people and the place they work so hard to protect and preserve.

The two hundred plus guests were having so much fun the event lasted much longer than expected.  Those who stuck it out to the end gave even more to the cause by participating in the the silent and live auctions.  Although the partners of the Sun Ranch  were newcomers they jumped right in and helped generate additional donations to help support the efforts of the MRF.

As an observer my heart was warmed by their generosity and enthusiastic support.  I was especially appreciative of the participation of their dog who gave me a big kiss at a much needed time during my duties as one of the hosts.

With the exception of the ever present wind, the weather was warm and awesome. The Sun Ranch is a spectacular location to be reminded of how blessed we are to live in this magnificent valley with people who love and honor the land and its inhabitants.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Suddenly Summer

Photo by Penny Hall
The clouds over the Madison valley are dark this morning.  The gentle breeze and sixty degree temperatures at sunrise felt wonderful.

Yesterday we were fortunate to have perfect weather in the morning for our Farmer's Market.  It was in the forties as we were setting up.  On our way home the car thermometer registered eighty-two.  It felt like summer.

The Ennis Art Walks kicked off their summer season Friday evening.  I was honored to be the featured artist for Maykak Gallery.  Local friends and neighbors along with a few tourists enjoyed ta feast for their eyes as well as their souls.  My photographer became so involved in the festivities he forgot to take photos.  Sadly I have none to share.

Today is the big Lions Club Father's Day Fishing Tournament at Lions Park where fathers fish the pond with their children.  I see some patches of clear sky forming.  Perhaps it will clear up in time for the annual event.

There were lots of cars on main street when I ventured out early this morning for this photo.  The number of summer visitors is increasing.  I love to watch our community wake up each summer to the sights and sounds of summer vacationers.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Farmers Market Saturday

Photo by Penny Hall

Photo by Penny Hall
Yesterday in spite of the cold and sometimes rainy conditions our hearty vendors opened up shop for the Madison Farm to Fork Farmers Market.  The lack of heavy winds made it a little more tolerable for us vendors.  Adventurous souls and faithful friends and neighbors came out in support.

Weather aside we met new friends and visited with old friends we had not seen for months.  Several of our artist friends discussed the challenges of making a living and a life creating and sharing our art.  Summer residents shared their excitement of returning for another summer.  Locals discussed their longing for weather patterns that feel more like summer rather than winter.

The worst of the rain held off until just after we closed at noon.  Then a heavy snow and rain mix poured down along with some major lightning.  Temperatures were in the thirties most of the day. 

This morning temperatures are once again in the thirties and cloudy.  It is a bit more breezy this morning. The mountains are covered with snow. As I enjoy this warm cup of tea and watch the birds flock to my feeders I am grateful for fresh home grown greens, friends, neighbors and the birds who stopped in to offer songs as they share breakfast with us.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Stormy Saturday

Photo by Penny Hall

Photo by Penny Hall

Yesterday our first Farmer's Market opened for the season.  It was a great market with one exception.  The storm blowing through created a bit of a challenge for some of our tents.

As artists we have quite an investment in our merchandise and outdoor events always create a risk.  Wind, rain and hot sun can damage our merchandise in the blink of an eye.  So, after holding onto our tent for a couple of hours we gave in and placed our art back in its boxes out of harms way.  I trust next week the weather will be kinder and we will have a new and improved plan.

Fortunately the huge down pour of rain held off until early afternoon.  We were blessed.

Today it is in the low sixties.  The clouds are hanging low and the mountain peeks are rising above them.  It is such a lovely sight to behold.  The above photos were taken a few minutes ago along the Madison River.

Someone said snow is in the forecast for mid-week.  This season is starting out to be very different from last year.