Saturday, April 19, 2008

Month in Review (so far)

Note: Captured from my Wunderground Blog, since I seemed to have a pretty good record of the month going there. As some of the images show, the arrival of spring here at The Ranch can vary a bit from day to day. Last weekend saw temperatures in the 60s and 70s, while today and tomorrow, breaking out of the 30s is going to be tough.

The week saw mostly the normal ranch activities. I still haven't started any major spring ranch projects. The highlights were the tossing of the manure pile and the 'harrowing Spring experience'. Both are represented in the Ranching 101 video that appears as a link later in this blog entry.

04/19/2008 -- As the line goes in Independence Day, (and other movies) "I'M BACK!!!", said the snow in this case. An overnight snowfall of 2.4" with the forecast calling for the start of the snow to be at 6:00 PM. So, we'll see how this all plays out.

Morning Snow Viewed from Deck
Snowy view from the deck

04/18/2008 -- Broken clouds mixed with sunlight most of today. Again, somewhat cold winds are moving things about. Since shortly after 9:00 AM the velocities have been in the 15-20 mph range. Looks like the top out temperature will be about 50 degrees, since that's where the graph has leveled off. Colder temperatures are in the forecast with snow likely again during the next couple of days, so I better get out and enjoy today before it gets too late.

See a Roll Out With the Horses (video)

Horses Grazing
Horses graze in afternoon sun

Ginger and the Creek Flow (video)

Ginger at Creek
Ginger near the creek

Creek flow through Rocks
Creek flowing through rocks

04/17/2008 -- A pleasant cloud sun mix today. The low temperature was just a bit below freezing, so the horse waterers that have had the heaters turned off were coated with a thin skin of ice. Later in the day, the wind had a coolness in it as though it is still blowing over frozen surfaces. However, the sun cloud mix made the day very nice.

Quiet Pond
Pond reflecting fence rails

Jonah and Harmony
Jonah and Harmony against the blue sky at morning feeding

Moon Above Cloud Banks
Sun glow clouds, waxing moon

04/16/2008 -- Such a deal, this S-p-r-i-n-g!! back to a little snow covering overnight (but again quickly gone). It does keep a person from getting too anxious about planting anything yet. Usually, I fill the window box with marigolds, but I guess I'll wait another month or so to do that.

Jonah, Snow, Morning Feeding
Jonah at Morning Feeding

04/15/2008 -- Backtracking again today as the highest temperature slipped back into the middle 40's. Even managed to have some snow squalls again this afternoon. I waited out the squall and ran while it was just cloudy, windy, and cool. The later day was a mix of clouds and fading sunlight.

Clouds Over Distant Hills
Clouds float over new snow on distant hills

Jonah's Mane Blowing in the Wind
Jonah's mane blowing in the wind

04/14/2008 -- A little cooler today (50's), since overcast conditions moved into the area. I just settled into regular week-day chores and did a short training ride session on both Corrie and Jonah today.

Clouds over Southeast Trees
Clouds over southeast tree line

04/13/2008 -- Mostly sunny. Mild and dry. The temperature rose to 74 today! It actually felt warm during my run! Nice!

Horses in the Pasture
Wanita and others in Batavia Pasture ... another view from the deck

04/12/2008 -- As the day quietly closes down, I have to say, this was a wonderful day at the ranch. I did a number of ranch related chores and they might even show up in future video clips with a theme of "Ranching 101" as I put together a series of images and video shorts. Today itself was great! Good weather. Everything got done as is needed on the ranch starting with the morning walk and continuing on with animal care and feeding along with a couple of other chores. In one case, seasonal, the "Harrowing, Spring Experience"; aka, the "Spring Harrowing Experience". Whatever! Today, it was combined with a "Tossing of the Manure" event. The Tossing of the Manure event is undertaken from time to time to mix the horse output so that when the time comes it is ready for the spreading. Anyway, these things all were done with a combination of energy and amusement.

Not to forget, the weather today was great. (Or perhaps I am repeating myself) ... Finally with some temperatures in the 60's, and just, overall, a fantastic day at the ranch. (Oh, and I even went for an outdoor bike ride. Very nice ... very nice, indeed). So, at the end of it all, just light up the fire and have a beer, brats, and relax with the dogs!

The Dogs
Taffy and Titan resting after a good day

Beer and Brats
Finishing the day, beer and brats at the firepit

04/11/2008 -- A wonderful "spring" day at the ranch today. Mostly sunny sky, and temperatures in the 50's! Finally, it felt like spring! I even started a fire in the fire-pit after finishing all the ranch work and just sat down and had a beer! It was great!

Jonah at the Morning Feeding

Burning the Bale
Smokey fire due to old hay being burned

Update to the 04/10/2008 Whirlwind event. The local newspaper, the Daily Interlake had an image posted today:

Tornado? (Levente Csaplar photo)
Cold Air Funnel Kalispell West Valley

This event was explained as a cold air funnel. It was taken in the West Valley near Kalispell. Based on the time of my video vs the time reported with the newspaper image, this was not the same wind event I had seen at the ranch. But, the weather was definitely dynamic yesterday.

04/10/2008 -- Interesting mix of weather this afternoon. While doing some work near the barn, a whirlwind stirred up a cloud of dust a hundred yards up the driveway from me. Later, during the pasture cleanup, a quick snow squall with a combination of pellets and flakes bounced off of the horses and me. The ground was covered white for a few minutes but a rapid switch back to a sun cloud mix melted the pellets pretty quickly. A couple of more squalls took place during the 60-90 minute chore period of time.

Horses During Snow Squall
Orpheus plus during snow pellet squall

04/09/2008 -- No snow during my run today. I added another one-half mile to the outgoing route and ended catching up to the snow line as it works its way up the hill. The road was icy in parts and muddy in other places since the snow melt is running across it in some sections. There were snow squalls visible near Blacktail Mountain about 6-8 miles south of me as I returned, but, mostly a cloud sun mix during my run.

Morning Feeding
Horses at morning feeding

04/08/2008 -- The snow line is slowing moving up the winter pasture. I'm still calling it a trace of snow cover for the season until the last of the snow field is gone. There is still about a 30" roof slide bank on the northwest side of the barn/arena complex, but that too is slowing disappearing. The slow snow melt is due to the daily low continuing to drop to the low 20's. A day or two of continuous above freezing will be needed to finish the last of the snow.

Snow Along Barn and Arena
Snow along barn and arena

04/07/2008 -- Another run in a snow squall. The start of the run had pellets of snow limiting visibilty to just a couple of hundred yards or so. Before the 1-mile turn off from the blacktop to the gravel road up the hill, the sun was shining. I ran without a cap for about a mile but again pulled it on as another round of snow pellets struck. The gravel ate up the bouncing pellets and the surface turned shiny with wetness in some sections. At the turnaround point the sun again was shining. The downhill return run was great and the passing squalls could be seen moving toward the east mountains. Later in the evening, a sliver of the moon was seen just after sunset and the final animal check was under bright star light.

Horses Across Pasture
Horses Walk to Fenceline

04/06/2008 -- Overcast start of the day with some snow pellets. Light rain and snow mixtures in the afternoon with temperatures in the low 40's. There was a good mix of clouds in the late afternoon sky.

Clouds Over East Pasture
Afternoon clouds over east pasture

04/05/2008 -- Light snow again overnight. Melted away easily, but no heat-wave. Still some packed ice patches in the woods and along the upper pasture fence line.

Morning Feeding in Snow
New snow and horses grazing this morning

04/04/2008 -- Sun early in the day changed to mostly overcast during the later afternoon and evening. Doing a camera test lately, with a 5MP vs 8MP side by side.

Sun on pond - Aiptek DV5700 5MP

HP Mz67 8MP
Sun on pond - HP Mz67 8MP

04/03/2008 -- Dry with another mix of sun and clouds. Clear overnight resulting in a cool low again. Still waiting for the break into a warm feeling day. Nice though, anyway.

Daily Dog Walk
Daily dog walk, snow almost gone

04/02/2008 -- A regular sort of day today. Still holding on to the cooler than the normal temperatures for this day. No new precipitation and another mix of sun and clouds.

Flag and Horses
Flag in foreground horses grazing beyond

04/01/2008 -- I went for a run today at about 2:30 PM in a blowing snow squall. Totally miserable, and I was ready to turn around during the first quarter mile and do a treadmill workout instead. By the time I finished the first mile up the hill, the sky was already changing to mostly blue. The return trip after the 2 1/2 mile turnaround was in full sun, calm, and perfect outdoor running conditions. The lesson -- don't give up on something just because it starts out a little rough!

Afterward, just relax with the dogs and know everything is good.

Taffy, Resting

A resting Taffy, upside down

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