Tuesday, December 30, 2014

15 Below Zero

©2014 Penny Hall
An arctic front moved in yesterday bringing lots of wind and cold temperatures.  The high was about 6 above zero yesterday.  This morning it was 15 degrees below zero and calm.

Yesterday the deer were roaming about grazing on anything they could find.  Today they are noticeably absent.  I am sure they are bedded down somewhere keeping warm.  Tomorrow it is expected to reach a high of about 18 degrees. 

The sun is shining and the high is expected to reach zero.  I am huddled in the house working from home with a warm cup of tea near the warmth of the pellet stove.  

I love how technology allows me to work anywhere using my laptop and phone.  Life is so good and I am so blessed.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Blizzard

©2014 Ken W. Hall
Christmas eve the wind blew with such force it knocked the bulb off the outside light fixture on the back porch.  Snow fell most of the night and we woke to falling snow and about six inches on the ground.

Our lunch guests from the Cameron area were surprised to find such deep snow as they approached Ennis.  They had less than an inch at their home.

Our friend from the McAllister area woke to snow drifts in excess of three feet.  He resorted to hiking across the pasture to meet a ride at the highway.

The above photo is the little shed out back.  The wind blew the snow so fiercely the building looked as if it had been flocked.

Today we experienced a few little snow flurries with temperatures only in the teens.  Another storm arrives tomorrow with an expected three to four additional inches of  snow and temperatures dropping to fifteen below zero by Monday.

This mild December appears to be going out with a bang.  Happy New Year everyone.  I think I will huddle in with a warm cup of tea and make some turkey soup.

Monday, December 15, 2014

12 Degrees This Morning

©2014 Penny Hall
It was 12 degrees this morning when we woke.  There were deer bedded down under our neighbor's trampoline and our resident bunny rabbit was out looking for food.

It began to snow Saturday evening and continued some during the day on Sunday.  A little more fell last night.  In all it might have been two inches.  

We welcomed the sunshine today.  The days are getting shorter but soon we will pass the shortest day of the year mark.  I love the sunshine and will enjoy the ever increasing hours of daylight.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Shelter From the Storm

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

It is two in the afternoon on the last Sunday in November and the thermometer is just now registering ten degrees above zero.  It was twelve below when we woke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.

Ken was checking the temperature when he noticed a deer curled up under the neighbor's trampoline.  The shed helped to block some of the strong winds that were rather brutal last evening.

Yesterday was the Woman's Club's annual Holiday Bazaar.  When we went to set up our booth it was about forty degrees and breezy.  When we left at 3:00 PM it was twelve degrees with heavy winds and blowing snow.

This is the perfect day to cuddle up inside, bake and cook soup.  I think I'l have another cop of hot tea.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Too Cold Too Soon

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
Winter arrived early bringing below zero nights for days now.  It has been as low as 18 degrees below zero at night and no higher than 12 degrees during the day.  We received what appeared to be five inches of snow and with these temps it is still on the ground.

According to the weather forecast things may begin to warm this week to the twenties and possibly thirties.  We will all be grateful for a little more warmth.

I am thankful for my warm house and good friends.

The above photo was taken by Ken near Norris Hill before the recent cold blast. I love watching the moon rise over the mountains.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Arctic Blast Arrives This Week

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
It was in the sixties yesterday and when this gull caught Ken's eye earlier this past week.  This morning it was 10 degrees and snowing.  The roads to Bozeman were icy going in this morning.  By the time we returned late afternoon they were mostly clear.

Temperatures are expected to dip below zero for part of the week.  The high today in Bozeman was 20 degrees.

Looks like winter is coming in with a bang.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Warm Halloween

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

Living in downtown Ennis this year for Halloween we received an abundance of trick or treaters.  The weather was warmer than it has been in many years causing everyone to  stroll at a leisurely pace rather than hurrying to stay warm.

It was such a joy to watch families walking together.  Parents participated with their children many in their own costumes.  All the children were extremely polite and thanked us for the gifts they received.  Ken managed to capture a few interesting images some of which are posted above.

Temperatures yesterday reached into the sixties.  However, tonight a storm is expected to bring up to four inches of snow and the lows will reach into the twenties with highs in the thirties and forties for a few days.  

I am glad the snow did not spoil the children's fun.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Twenty Degrees in September?

@2014 Ken W. Hall

@2014 Ken W. Hall

@2014 Ken W. Hall
Recently Ken captured these images of a family of deer grazing at the end of our block.  We commented on how late in the year it was to have little ones with spots.  

This week, the morning of the 11th, I drove through snow to hang an art show in Virginia City, Montana at the Elling House Arts and Humanities Center.   The next morning we woke to twenty degree temperatures here in Ennis.

This was a major record low for this time of year.  I heard some people say it had not happened since the 1800's.  I have not checked the facts but it has not happened since we moved here fourteen years ago.

The low this morning was 30 degrees and it is in the sixties with a breeze right now.  It is reminding me to get outdoors and enjoy the warmth while it is here.  Winter is not far off.

So, I am writing this post sipping tea on my front porch watching the birds while expressing gratitude for this beautiful place I call home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall
Few are aware that the headwaters of the fabled Madison River, the river on which we live, is the conjunction of the Gibbon River and the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park.

Recently I, along with two special friends named Ricard Lessner and Chuck Feldman, journeyed to the Firehole in search of elusive trout. The Firehole is fed by numerous geyser runoffs of steaming mineral laden waters. In the summer it is amazing while in the winter it is other worldly.

The three "buds" each caught trout but my catch of the day was when I opted fly rod for camera and waded through a Millers caddis hatch to the far side of the river. When the ford was complete I was greeted by a small bird. The welcome party for my arrival included the small feathered friend putting on quite a display on a fallen tree reaching out into the Firehole. My catch of the day was when the bird focused on a single Millers caddis and let instincts fly…and it appears in the image that the caddis flew as well and lived another day.

And so is Life in Yellowstone and the Firehole River. Magic and mystique reign supreme in these hallowed waters so graciously gifted by Creator.

                                                                               - Ken W. Hall

Our weather is getting hotter.  It was 57 degrees this morning and will reach the mid to high eighties this afternoon.  What makes it warmer for us is that most of our buildings do not have air conditioning since we only require it two or three months out of the year.  I do love the warmer weather and am enjoying every moment.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Apple Blossoms

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
"This is such a special time of the year. The wonder of Nature dances a waltz with a full and subtle swath of color. Our apple tree is in full bloom. Sit quietly and smell the fragrance."
                                                                                                                       -- Ken W. Hall

There is a small apple tree in the backyard of our new residence.  It opened up yesterday and today it is in full bloom.  Ken captured this image.  Our neighbor said they are so fragile a strong wind or rain and they will all be gone.  

We just experienced a wind so strong willow branches fell to the ground.  I hope enough of the blossoms survive to enjoy apples this fall.

Spring is in the air.  Birds prepare their nests.  Yards are being groomed.  Gardeners prepare their soil for planting.  The lilac bushes are blooming and filling the air with a sweet fragrance.

The days are longer and we go to bed and wake up to the sound of birds singing.  Temperatures range from forty in the mornings to as high as seventy during the day.  The past couple of days we experienced brief evening showers.

I love this time of year.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Colder Springtime in Ennis, Montana

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
© 2014 Ken W. Hall
The rain and snow yesterday did not prevent Ken from grilling our dinner outdoors.  It was twenty-nine when we woke and barely made it above forty.  The same is true today.  At least today we
experienced brief moments of sunshine.

Mystic, the cat, remained cuddled inside the blankets in an effort to keep warm.  We are hopeful that later in the week we could see a day or two reach sixty degrees.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

El Western's "Tippet"

© 2014 Ken W. Hall    "Tippet"
Spring weather is unpredictable here in the Madison Valley.  Temperatures range from the 20s to high 60's, sunshine to cloudy, calm to windy.  

As nature wakes from her long winter's nap those of us who live here year round are busy preparing for the return or our summer residents and tourists.  

Recently Ken taught a photography class at the El Western here in Ennis, Montana.  This is Ken's description of the above photo.

"Here is an image from the last day of the workshop I taught at the El Western. This is "Tippet" the resident caretaker of the stream. The lawn was covered with limbs that she removes from the creek and deposits on the lawn. This behavior goes on constantly throughout the season. Seems she has given herself the job of Stream Maintenance Supervisor. Just in the hour we were by the stream shooting she must have brought twenty large branches and small limbs out of the creek."
                                                                                          -Ken W. Hall
FUNNY STORY (side note: a tippet is the smallest part of the leader on a fly rod. The fly is tied onto the tippet.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Osprey, Trout and Moose

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall
It is a beautiful Easter Sunday.  We took a walk along the Madison River near Eight Mile Fishing Access earlier this morning. 

As we were approaching the access Ken noticed this Bull Moose sun bathing on a small island in the middle of the river.  Camera in hand he headed out down the river to see if he could get a few shots.

Just as we began to make our way to the river's edge this magnificent osprey flew overhead and put o quite a show.  Ken immediately noticed the trout he held in his talons.

By the time we reached the moose he was not in the mood for a photo shoot.  Ken managed this one quick shot before he rose and headed across the river diapering into the safety of the willows.

It was forty degrees at six this morning and now it is fifty-nine.  The wind makes it feel colder but the sunshine is a welcome sight.

I wish you a blessed day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Total White Out! Blizzard In The BearTrap

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
As the blizzard subsided I was lying on my belly on a rock in the river shooting water level images when I glanced not ten feet from my right side and beheld noses…not one or two but schools. I put away the pixel machine and scrambled up the bank back to my rig and loaded myself with tackle and down I went to the water. I fished for less than two hours, got eleven fish, all on dry flies.  One was 11 inches and the rest, a mix of browns and rainbows, were from 14 - 18. There was still some occasional rising fish but since I could not feel my feet and I had to drive out of the canyon on a slippery road I called it a day and what a day it was!
                                                                                   -- Ken W. Hall

Ken took this photo several days ago on a fishing trip.  Sounds like it was an amazing experience he will not soon forget.

This has been a different sort of week.  We lost water for several hours then discovered mid day the following day that the water we were drinking and using was contaminated.  Those of us who live in town and are on city water are picking up water from Ennis city hall until they get test results back on Tuesday.

Three Rivers Communications laying fiber optic cables drilled through the water main.

We take many things for granted in life.  Not having something we rely on daily give us the opportunity to appreciate it even more.

It is wonderful to have the temperatures warming a little.  The sights and sounds of spring are everywhere.  I love waking to the sound of the birds.  It is daylight earlier and later as our days get longer.  The town is waking up as businesses prepare for our summer visitors.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eagle On The Mountain

©2014 Ken W.Hall

This Eagle caught Ken's attention Sunday morning.  I love the majesty of the eagle.  We are so blessed to live in the Madison Valley where we have the pleasure of seeing them often.

The birds are letting us know spring is here.  A pair of sandhill cranes were spotted doing their mating dance.

Temperatures have been lower than normal for this time of year.  It has been twelve degrees in the mornings with highs from thirty to the mid forties.  We are expecting snow and rain this week.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Robins are Here

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall

Yesterday our yard filled with Robins.  Temperatures have been in the twenties to forties all week.  The snow is melting and you can see a few blades of green grass trying to surface.

Ken went to the river yesterday.  Most of the ice from the gorging has melted.  There are only a few patches and the remnants hanging onto the banks.

Everyone is talking about the challenges of having the snow melt so quickly.  Friends report rivers flowing through their yards and now the mud.

We are under a winter weather watch today with the possibility of 2-5 inches of snow. Right now it is raining.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Deep Freeze Again

©2014 Ken W. Hall

©2014 Ken W. Hall
What a difference a day makes.  One day the deer are sunbathing the next they are riding out the storm.

March is marching in like a lion with what our local forecaster is calling the winter storm of 2014. Last week temperatures dipped well below zero after a heavy snowfall and a repeat is scheduled to begin this evening.  Temperatures are well below normal for this time of year.

The sound of birds chirping is a welcome song.  It is time for many of them to return.  I am sure they are just as surprised by the winter weather.

Perhaps the old saying will ring true and March will go out like a lamb.  In the meantime we must brace for another storm and frigid temperatures expected to reach 14 below zero.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ice Fishing on Ennis Montana Lake

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
It was cloudy yesterday with occasional snow pellets falling when we drove to check out Ennis, Montana's lake.  There were two groups of ice fishermen digging through the ice.  One group was constantly interrupted by their dog wanting them to throw a stick.  It was very entertaining to watch.

I was a little surprised to see ice fishermen.  As you can tell the ice is melting and has areas where geese are gathered to fish through the open ice.  Under the bridge the Madison River is flowing and a couple of fishermen had their poles lined up fishing off the bridge.

The high yesterday was thirty-five degrees above zero.  Today it was twenty six when we got up and now it is forty with very strong winds.  Gusts were predicted to get as high sixty-five miles per hour.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Above Zero...finally

©2014 Ken W. Hall
Temperatures finally rose above zero yesterday and today it made it to the low thirties.  We are so grateful to feel the warmth after a week of temperatures as low as thirty-two degrees below zero.

The last couple of days we received snow that mounted to about five to six inches.  This is from our backyard.  You can see more of Ken's photos from this week here.  The tracks in the snow in the back yard are from the deer.

It amazes me that the animals can survive such sub-zero temperatures.  They are covered with frost but somehow manage to stay warm.

Thank goodness the temperatures are expected to be in the low thirties this week.  Snow is predicted each day through Friday but to day it was very minimal early this morning.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

18 Below Zero

© 2014 Ken W. Hall
It was 18 below zero when we got up this morning.  Now it is 10 below.  The above photo was taken by Ken in Jeffers, Montana earlier this week when we had a short snow fall with winds that made it seem like a blizzard.

We are expecting lower temperatures tonight and tomorrow night then it will begin to warm back up the early part of next week.

I am working from home with a warm cup of tea.  Wish you were here to join me.  It is so beautiful outside with snow on the ground and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds from time to time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Little Snow

© 2014 Penny Hall
I took this photo yesterday when I went for an afternoon walk through downtown Ennis.  It was a little breezy but the sunshine was awesome.

The day began with ice covered roads.  Wednesday afternoon it snowed about an inch and left a good bit of moisture.  The ice was gone by early afternoon when temperatures rose as high as forty degrees.

More and more of the ice on the Madison River is giving way to open channels for the water to flow freely.  It is a fascinating process to watch.

With temperatures above normal it feels a lot like springtime.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Morning Migration

©2014 Ken W. Hall
One morning this week Ken got his camera just in time to capture the tail end of a group of deer leaving our yard headed toward their daily destination.  Almost every morning our yard is filled with deer resting and chewing from a full night of grazing.

At some appointed time they all seem to rise together and head off in the same direction.  This particular day another group of eight or so passed through at the same time.  In all there must have been close to twenty.

Our weather this week has been mostly cloudy with bouts of wind.  Today the sun is shinning.  Temperatures remain above normal for this time of year dipping to the twenties at night and up to the forties during the day.  

It almost feels like spring.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January in Ennis, Montana

©2014 Penny Hall
As I stood looking over the Madison River this morning the gorge reminded me of the interesting changes in weather this winter.  The early deep freeze produced the ice and now temperatures this week are predicted to remain above normal for this time of year.

It was twenty-five this morning and now it is close to forty.  We experienced a couple of light snowfalls this week.  It is snowing lightly now but the mountains are getting most of the snow.  In Ennis it remains rather pleasant for January.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Greetings from Ennis, Montana

©2014 Penny Hall
Happy New year from Ennis, Montana.  2014 is here and today the wind is ushering in a new storm.  Although December brought several days of below zero temperatures our holidays were nice and travel was easy.

The Madison River gorged during the sub zero temps and is beginning to open up a few pathways.  I took this photo from Lion's Park a few days ago.  Water from the gorged river flooded the park.  I could cross both bridges but ice prevented me from walking further.

As I traveled to the office this morning just before 8:00 AM it was nice to see so many cars parked along main street.  The local cafe's were filled with customers.  That is a great start to the new year.

It was thirty degrees when I got up at 5:00 AM.  The weather man predicts rain and snow today.  Sub zero temps are expected for a couple of days at night.  Then
 it should warm back up to the twenties and thirties late next week.

Watching the national news I feel blessed to be here.  Compared to other places in the United States we are experiencing a milder winter so far.