Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 2009 Weather Posting Summary

During my marathon training time, I have also been keeping up the Day by Day in NW Montana posting in the WeatherUnderground Blog. This is a summary of the postings from that location.

Posting to be supplied

Marathon Training - Day 92

Sunday, May 31, 2009: Yet another great day in the area. It was fine day for another run up the road to the Lupine Meadows gate. Just the regular day to day kind of day with blue sky, some cloud formations, and the various and assorted things you see every day as you do marathon training runs.
I managed to keep on jogging all of the way up the hill today. The total run was quite nice with just some stops to capture the scenes along the way. I didn't need to pick up any cans or bottles (but I did see some to get on another trip). I managed to turn in a good time (not a record, but not bad at all). Marathon log for today: Run: 8.256 miles. (Cross training was nothing special ... just some ranch tasks but nothing that counts toward marathon training!).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 91

Saturday, May 30, 2009: A mild to warm day in NW Montana. And, with other activities going on today, I skipped on my marathon training run today. Instead, I did a cross-training bike ride late in the day. It was an easy gliding ride into Kalispell on the trail with a tail wind that only required peddling about ten strokes for the entire trip into town. That meant the ride back was more of a workout, and a good training exercise as a result. Log for the day -- Run: 0 miles; Bike cross-training: 13.4 miles.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 90

Friday, May 29, 2009: It was another sunny warm day in NW Montana. I mixed it up a bit by doing the cross-training biking early in the day (before the wind started kicking up). Intermediate tasks around the ranch kept me from doing my run until later in the afternoon. So, it was warm and sunny for the run today. This warm and sunny trend has resulted in the snow disappearing even from the snow runs on Blacktail Mountain (visible from the running route I decided to choose for today). I have fallen out of my training program a bit, so it also meant I needed to do enough running during the last two days of this week to keep up the mileage goals. The run today was an eight miler as a result. (I just didn't think I could do 16 miles tomorrow). So, out it was for the up the hill to the gate run. A complication for my run was the fact that I blocked a short-hop throw with my leg during my softball night a couple of days ago. A nasty bruise has resulted. In spite of that, I hobbled out and about for the distance. It ended up being a fine run (just a little slow in portions). Marathon log for the day -- Run: 8.1 miles; Biking: 13.6 miles.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 89

Thursday, May 28, 2009: It was an early start to my running day today as I decided to do my run before breakfast. The temperature was nicely cool and I chose the climb of Ashley Lake pass for my course. Except during the very steepest grade sections, I did a run or jog for the entire training run. Except, I did stop a couple of times to enjoy the view to Ashley Lake and through the woods at the turn-around point. Mileage log for the day: Run: 10.4 miles.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 88

Wednesday, May 27, 2009: It was a quick two miler late in the afternoon today. Since I had a softball game, I decided to use the run today as a warm-up for the game. Also, since I knew I was only going to be running a short run, I thought I could really scream out a good fast run. I wasn't exactly right about the speed thing, though. The horses along the road drew my attention, so, I actually stopped for a few seconds to take a couple of pictures of them. Also, it seems the real bursts of speed are still eluding me. I have a couple of more weeks of marathon training left and will have to try to get back to those fast twitch muscle groups and see if I can get some of them back into action! In any case, it was a good run. Log totals: Run: 2.109.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 87

Tuesday, May 26, 2009: Clear sky conditions and good running temperature for another run up to the Lupine Meadows gate. I ran without dropping into a walk mode for the entire distance. It was a good day for stumping out through the route! Ranch chores were performed after the run. As and extra bonus I did another cross training bike ride. It was great on the outbound ride with strong tail winds allowing the 6.7 miles to be done in 23 minutes! The return ride was a bit slower. I had the opportunity to take advantage of the strong tail wind for a second trip into town (I got a call that the truck was repaired and I could go in to pick it up). So, I biked back into town again. Log totals for the day -- Run: 8.1 miles; Biking: 20.3 miles.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 86

Monday, May 25, 2009: A day of rest from marathon training. The cross-training today was a combination of ranch work (as a chimney sweep) combined with spring cleaning activities. Running log: 0. Cross-training log: 0.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 85

Sunday, May 24, 2009: Another clear warm day in and around NW Montana. I had considered doing the run before breakfast and trying for a long 20 miler today. Instead, I did the breakfast stop first and legged it on down to the bike trail for a run into Kalispell. The trail was active with people; bikers, and even some runners. These are just about the first runners I've seen while out on a run myself (I have met and passed runners while doing the cross-training bike rides of the last three days). There had been just a very light sprinkle of rain overnight. That seemed to be enough to keep the humidity just a little high (for this area, anyway). Ignoring that, the conditions were great for my run. I ran the total distance into Kalispell (6.7 miles). However; on the return, I decided to alternate run and walk for the entire route. This meant it took a little longer, but, since I didn't take/drop any water bottles for use on the run, it was better to pace myself rather than burning out totally. As it turned out, I still felt pretty wasted by the time I got back home. I rested for a few minutes just lying on a dog pillow. I started to cool down too quickly and got up, had some more water, and then decided just to crash for a bit on the dog futons. About an hour later I awoke feeling well rested, had lunch, did some ranch chores, and decided to make it four in-a-row for the bike ride cross training rides.
It ended up being a good choice and the combination of run/rest/chores/bike has felt quite good over the last number of days. Today's log totals: Run (with some run/walk alternation): 13.52 miles; Bike: 13.4 miles (using the bike odometer -- it might be just a tenth short).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 84

Saturday, May 23, 2009: I again put off my long run for another day, but it looks like I've been keeping close to, and even ahead of my training plan without the long run mileage. With the weather staying good for most of this week (except for the day I ran in the rain) I ended up not taking a "weather-rest" day. Also, I've run seven days in a row (whereas, my training plan allows for a rest day each week, too).
A string of mild days continues in NW Montana. Today, full sunshine, with just a scattering of clouds. The running route today was lined with a collection of various and assorted animals, and even a person to chat with. I planned for the run today to be just a light jog, and, as an extra bonus, I had a chance to stop and talk with one of the folks along the route. A woman was out walking for some afternoon exercise, and stopped at the top of her driveway. I stopped my run, said hello, and walked over to talk to her.
I mentioned that I've photographed her place a number of times (it's nicely placed by Sherman Pond and makes a nice view scene many times). As we were chatting, she mentioned that she knew the previous owners of our ranch. It was a wonderful chat. Oh, she turned 90 last July, and lives by herself at the place. Quite inspiring to talk to her. I probably ran with more spring in my step after the chat, too! Later in the day, I also did the third in my series of cross-training bike rides. It was a great day! Running log: 6.227 miles; Bike ride: 13.4 miles.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 83

Friday, May 22, 2009: Well, I had thought about the options for today: 1) Run to town to pick up a repaired truck; 2) Rest; 3) Run as hard as possible, because the truck was not done (and, in fact was gonna cost a lot more to repair than planned). Well, the truck wasn't fixed, so option #1 was ruled out. The marathon training log shows I need to run a few more miles this week, so option #2 could not be implemented. There probably would have been some other options to consider, but as much as I could, I opted for #3. There was a short period of time when I felt totally spent, and walked for about 300 yards. Then, I thought about it again, and decided I really don't improve that much if I give up, so I started running again. This was during the last mile of the uphill run on the gravel road to the Lupine Meadows gate. There are a couple of sections where the downhill ride on a bicycle (coasting) is at 30 MPH, so, the grade is pretty good and gives a nice workout on the uphill section. I kept up the pace for the rest of the uphill climb. During the downhill, I did just a quick loop to pickup a six-pack and a couple of cans I saw in the ditch. It ended up being a good run with the total time just under 90 minutes and some nice running during the last couple of miles.
After a lunch, and a few ranch tasks, I decided to do another cross-training bike ride. The weather cooperated again with light winds and, (could I be so lucky two days in a row), maybe even a tail wind on the return to the ranch. Log summary: Run: 8.4 miles; Cross-training bike ride: 13.4 miles.

Marathon Training - Day 82

Thursday, May 21, 2009: Since I needed to get to town by noon, I ran a quick six route during the mid morning. It was a sunny, somewhat cool, but pleasant day for the run. Later in the afternoon, since the in town trip was complete, I decided to do my first outdoor bike ride for the year. (Pretty darn late for someone that for many years biked almost year-round).
It was a good ride, though, down to the Rails-to-Trails path and into Kalispell. The winds were favorable, too, with just a light tail wind for the return trip to the ranch. Training log: Run 6.2 miles; Outdoor biking for cross-training: 13.4 miles.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 81

Wednesday, May 20, 2009: Cool temperature meant good running conditions again today. There were some light showers moving through and I wanted to avoid running a longer distance and getting caught in the rain two days in a row. Because of that, I decided to do another repeat on the Sherman Road loop. No rain chased me back early this time, so I jogged or walked up to the gate. The run back was a fine downhill cruise, and the weather staying dry, made for a good training run today. Running log: 8.217 miles.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 80

Tuesday, May 19, 2009: Clouds were drifting around and about as I began my run today. It was planned to be up the gravel road to the gate again for the 8+ miles that I have been doing for the last couple of days. As I finished the first mile and turned up the gravel road, light rain began to fall. No problem, I figured, I've run in light rain lots of times. But, as I continued the up-the-road run, I noticed the west and north mountains had pretty much disappeared in a veil of white. It was raining harder! At the two mile point (just one mile up the gravel road) I decided it was not going to get better. So, I turned around and ran back down the hill. I had it in mind to run at least eight miles today. With that in mind, I decided if it was not raining too hard, I'd continue down the blacktop past the ranch and do a loop down to the bike trail and come back the back way through the woods.
This was the first time I'd done the bike trail section in a couple of years and since my last run, two bridges have been added to the trail where Ashley Creek runs along the highway and the trail. It looks like the bike trail part has not been completed, but when it is it will help to keep the bike trail from merging with the highway for a stretch of about two miles. In any case, the rain stopped completely as I got back off of the trail and on the roads back to the ranch. I walked about a mile of one of the roads, yet again, gathering some cans into stacks. Let the running log show: 9.2 miles; Bottles and cans: 9 Stacks of at least 5 cans/bottles.

Marathon Training - Day 79

Monday, May 18, 2009: It was a sunny warm day for a run. I started the run just before noon and headed up the hill for another of the eight mile loops up the hill. At the top of the hill, the gate was open so I headed through and did the turnaround at the next break in the roads. During the downhill run, I took a short picture break to check out the cattle around the Sherman Road rustic ranch. It was a great running day with the nice sunlight and mild temperatures. Running log: 8.4 miles.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 78

Sunday, May 17, 2009: It was a mild to warm day for a run today. After taking the rest day yesterday, I decided to do the run up the gravel road. My training program calls for a major long run this week. But, it was time to try a new pair of running shoes and since I hadn't had this particular brand of shoe before, the long run will be a little later this week. Running log for today: 8.2 miles.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 77

Saturday, May 16, 2009: A total day off from marathon training and cross training today. Just a day of rest. Marathon log: 0.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 76

Friday, May 15, 2009: This day marks the 'one month left' point in the training program for Grandma's Marathon. It was a perfect running day. Clear sky started the day (although fog hung down in the Flathead Valley). Cumulus clouds began to form during the mid morning by the time I started my run. Although I started the run wearing a wind breaker, I was able to tuck it into its own pocket about a mile or so into the run. Today, I did the Sherman Road out and back up to Lupine gate. For a very special rest stop, I got to tour the new Carr homestead property house. It was very nice! Today, I decided to put the 'lazy legs' of yesterday behind me, and I did several 'fast sprints' while on the run. It actually felt quite good. The light rain of yesterday did not make the gravel section of the road too sloppy.
And, amazingly, there were still some patches of snow near the top of the hill. Also, the ski runs of Blacktail Mountain are still quite evident as the sun and cloud combination highlighted the ski area. Running log: Full run 8.1 miles (6:2 gravel to blacktop ratio).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 75

Thursday, May 14, 2009: Was almost a two-stage run. The first stage was completed after dropping the truck in town for some repair work. I ran back from town (with some walking) in a light rain ... then no rain ... and then heavier rain. It was not an ideal running day! Since the report on what was wrong with the truck was not received until late in the day, a second run was not done. Instead, I just watched periods of rain drift through and later went down to the arena and helped with one of the horses. While taking her from the arena back to the pasture, one of the cats caught a ride. Otherwise, I just rested for most of the day. Log miles ~6.5: (I forgot the GPS, so that is my estimate).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 74

Wednesday, May 13, 2009: It was not a day to expect to see lots of the animals that have been up along the running route over the last week or so, because today they were right outside the gate at the ranch. But it was another day for a six mile run. That was good, because I was pretty tired anyway, and a longer distance would have been difficult to do. I did the blacktop to Sherman out and back again. It worked good since I wanted to pick up the gathered cans and bottles I had grouped together during the last couple of runs. As I was heading down the road, some neighbors were driving up, and I was able to drop two bags of collected cans and bottles into their truck. I picked up one more small bag-full during the last part of the run. Let the log show: Run 6.2 miles; Cans and bottles, three bags full!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 73

Tuesday, May 12, 2009: Variability was the keyword of the day today. Overnight it was mostly clear resulting in a cold overnight low. Clouds slithered in during the morning and brought a combination of showers, ice pellets, and wind. Due to some activities during the day and the uncertainty of the weather, I didn't get out for a run until late in the afternoon. The wind was still kicking up pretty good (I think I saw some ducks wind surfing on the flooded areas in the meadow). But, the clouds parted and allowed the sunshine to dominate and even with temperatures in the middle 40's, it made for pleasant running conditions. Since it was late enough in the day, I decided to do a six miler loop again today. Marathon log for the day: 6.2 miles.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 72

Monday, May 11, 2009: Well, this looks like another day when I should have done something to match the day in the month, but I didn't. Instead, I seemed to wait until it was raining a bit, strap on the running gear, and head for the hills again. In my mind, I actually just wanted to do a six miler or so today. (Since I have softball practice tonight, I didn't want to overdo the run mileage). The road was wet and shiny with the light rain as I headed out. By the time I got to the turnaround, the rain had stopped and it was feeling quite warm (especially with the 100% nylon, non-breathing wind pants and a wind-breaker that is just a bit tight around the arms and body when zipped shut. In-spite of that, I cruised the blacktop on the way back in fine time, just stopping to pick up a couple of cans and a bottle I saw on the way up the road. Log me with: 6.239 miles (might as well use all the precision the GPS tracker watch provides).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 71

Sunday, May 10, 2009: It was out and about for an animal viewing run today. I just wanted to get in a good six miler to start the week. The sun was shining, clouds were drifting around the area, and the animals along the running route were plentiful, if common.
With the nice day, I was even able to run in just running shorts and a sleeveless running shirt. As an extra bonus, not a single can or bottle needed to be picked up! The running log for today: 6.260 miles.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 70

Saturday, May 9, 2009: I had been toying with the off day a couple of times this week, well, today I took that rest day. I did spend it doing some ranch chores, but nothing related to marathon training or cross training. In the early evening, I just sat out on the deck: had a beer and Cheetos, drank some water, and finished the time on the deck with a cup of coffee. It was an evening spent just watching the clouds drift around the area. Marathon training log: 0 - A day of rest!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 69

Friday, May 8, 2009: It was a mostly cloudy cool start to the day today, and that carried over to the start of my run, late in the morning. I decided to do a long run today. After checking my training log, I noticed that I already had the total number of miles for the training period, but, I was about 13 miles short for my weekly total. So, I decided that would be my goal: at least 13 miles. The best course for this was to do the up and over to Ashley Lake again. During the early part of the run, the sun came out, so I slipped off the wind-breaker and zipped it into its own pouch. However, by the time I left the blacktop, just after the 3.5 mile mark, it started to rain (mixed with a few ice pellets). So, I unzipped the pouch and put the wind-breaker back on. The gravel road at this point is a couple of switch-backs along with some pretty steep uphill. I walked a bit of this and decided to fetch bottles and cans that I saw along the way. The bottle and can pickup continued up over the pass and most of the way back down the other side. The turnaround point was just along the north side of Ashley Lake.

The return run was a combination of walks and short jogs as I collected the bottles and cans into stacks of at least four or more items. By the time I crossed back over the pass to the blacktop, I counted 25 piles of bottles and cans gathered along the route (from the 3.1 mile mark to the 6.5+ mile mark, which was the turnaround point). Once I hit the blacktop, I mostly jogged until I started running out of energy with about a mile left to get back to the ranch. At that point, I did a brisk stretching walk until the last 300 yards or so. I could see the pups out in the yard and whistled and called to them. As I finished, my wife came out of the house too, and cheered me on to the end of the run like I was finishing a marathon! It was a great special treat (even though I only ran about half a marathon for the training run). Running log: 13.1 miles (combo of walk run for some sections); Can pile count: At least 25 piles of 4 or more items; a plastic bag containing 2 bottles and cans collected in the last two mile section.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 68

Thursday, May 7, 2009: I needed a rest day from the marathon training runs today. The weather obliged, too, at least during the morning. It rained off and on for a bit until around noon. The afternoon became a sun and cloud mix. The wind was kicking up a good bit and kept me from doing an outdoor bike ride for cross training. So, it was a day of rest with a video and afternoon coffee.

At least it was a rest day until late afternoon. Then, I decided to do a project to put the kitten door into the new barn. Afterward, since I was right down in the area anyway, I did a 3-mile workout on the treadmill. Let the daily log show: Treadmill: 2 miles (at 9.5 MPH); 1 mile (at 4.0 MPH).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 67

Wednesday, May 6, 2009: Before the run today, we put the horses out in the main yard, they are our 1-HP per unit "Lawn Trimmers" and hopefully will help avoid a lawn mowing or two during the marathon training sessions and early summer weeks.

Later, I decided to do another in the series of runs up to the end of the blacktop today. I had a couple of piles of bottles and cans left behind from the gathering runs I did a earlier. This time, I took some bags with to do a final pickup. The first pickup was just after the 1.5 mile mark and since there were enough bottles and cans, my normal jog was slowed down to a slog (slog jog). A second major accumulation was only about a quarter mile up the road. With those, I decided to mostly walk to collect any other debris I missed on earlier runs. By the time I got to the 3.1 mile turnaround, the bag was again nearly full, so I left it at the end of the blacktop for pickup later. I was able to run most of the way back. However, I did spot a couple of more cans and bottles and stopped and picked them up as I returned down the hill. By the time I got back home I had collected another half-dozen bottles and the same number of cans. This should complete the major pickups for the rest of my training runs. However, it seems, I can count on a couple new of items in every mile of the roads I run. Let the running log show: Run/walk of 6.220 miles; can and bottle collection: 20-30 pounds in one bag, and another dozen items on the 3 miles back to the ranch.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 66

Tuesday, May 5, 2009: I suppose it should have been a five miler on 5-5, but, instead, I was trying for the quick six between the rain storms. As it turned out, there was no need to rush, since clearing skies soon followed my return to the ranch. It was a bit breezy for the run, but, with the extra weight I carry these days, I managed to keep from getting blown away. There had been some showers overnight and through the morning so I decided to stick to the blacktop today (with the exception of where the blacktop ends there is a gravel section of about 100 feet or so that I run until the turnaround at the first switchback going over the Ashley Lake Pass). The gravel section wasn't very muddy and, in fact, a gravel road run might not have been a problem either, with just over one-third of an inch of rainfall today. In any case, I ran the entire course, except for a stop to talk to Pepper and scratch her back. Oh, I also walked just a short section of the steepest uphill (I have to preserve my strength for softball practice this evening). Running log for the day: 6.306 miles ... call it all blacktop, (that 100 feet really doesn't count as gravel road training distance).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 65

Monday, May 4, 2009: Since the gravel road is a little easier on the legs, I decided to repeat the run up Sherman Road to the Lupine Meadows gate. It was a sunny day today with the kind of clouds you can imagine to be bunnies, bears, and just about anything you want to think of as you watch them cross the sky. The temperature was nearly perfect for the run: cool enough not to overheat terribly, but warm enough to know I was working hard during the uphill sections. My run was during the middle of the day, just crossing over the noon time hour as I returned to the ranch. My wife had a riding lesson in progress, so I watched that a bit, changed from my running stuff to ranch clothes, and walked back down to the arena with the dogs to video some of the training. Running log information: 8.1 miles; 3:1 gravel vs blacktop mix.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Marathon Training - Day 64

Sunday, May 3, 2009: Well, today it was back up into lion country as I decided to leave the blacktop early, and run the three miles up to the Lupine Meadows gate. It was mostly cloudy during the run, and even just a couple of rain drops fell. At about the two-and-one-half mile mark, I stopped to talk to the Carrs. They were doing some fence repair and cleaning up the area I call 'Apple Tree Draw'. It was a nice break during the run! After the chatting, I continued the rest of the way up the dirt road to the gate. There was still some snow 'round-about at the turnaround, and the road was wet from melting snow.
The trip down was fairly easy and somewhat fast. No stopping for chatting this time and I completed the route with the last mile on the blacktop. Log totals for today: Run= 8.223 miles ... two miles blacktop, six miles on the gravel road. Oh, and I also finished the afternoon with a quick 8 miles on the Nordic cycle in a 30:15 workout. (Cross-training can keep the muscles from getting too sore).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Marathon Training - One Day at a Time (May 2009)

Saturday, May 2, 2009: (Day 63) Another day in the sun in NW Montana. I geared up a little earlier and was out for a morning run around 10:30 AM or so (not exactly getting the worms, though). The temperature was again near perfect for running (and actually a bit warm with long sleeve apparel). I took a garbage bag with today to pickup the piled cans and bottles from the last couple of outings up the 3+ miles to the end of the blacktop. By the time I reached the last one-half mile, it was all walking, since I didn't anticipate picking up quite so much new debris. I left the bag at the turnaround (to be collected later) and ran the downhill three miles a lot lighter than I was at the top of the hill. The brown mix horse I've named Pepper was again out in her pasture. In addition, the hill north of the running route now has the summer herd grazing the hillside meadows and woods. Running log summary: Run/(walk) combination: 6.158 miles; Can, bottle, and debris collection: one FULL bag (25-30 pounds of stuff!).

Friday, May 1, 2009: (Day 62) Today was a great sunny day around the area here in NW Montana. I did a number of ranch chores and other activities (even installed a new 'cat door' so the growing kittens can access the whole world now). I toyed with the idea of skipping the run today and doing a bike ride instead, but, late in the afternoon, after checking my mileage log VS my training schedule, I decided doing a quick 4-miler would be the right thing to do. My route was on the blacktop for the first mile and then just a run up Sherman Road for a mile. It was a good run and I was able to do a little faster return even while still a little tired after the 15-miler yesterday. Running log for today: 4.024 miles ... half on blacktop, half on gravel ... comfortable sunny running conditions.

April Monthly Weather Summary - One Day at a Time

Here is the entire month of April, 2009, in a day by day summary. This posting was generated by modifying my original blog posting at Wunderground so that the images are resized somewhat for posting here. The current month is posted Day by Day in NW Montana.

April 30, 2009 : High clouds allowed a filtered to partly sunny day around the ranch today. Since the grass is beginning to grow, we decided to let the horses graze freely for a couple of hours this morning. I guess it will be a good way to save a lawn mowing or two this year!

Filtered Sun over the Horses this Morning
Sun through high clouds early today

Horses Grazing the Main Yard
Horses grazing the yard today

April 29, 2009 : Mostly cloudy through the day today. Not quite as windy as yesterday. No precipitation. Overall, just a gray day but used to cleanup the tree that fell yesterday.

Morning Clouds and Filtered Sun
Mostly cloudy with filtered sunlight

Cutting Up the Fallen Tree
Daniel cutting up the tree that fell yesterday

April 28, 2009 : It was a mostly cloudy and blustery kind of day today. During the early afternoon, the wind gusted strongly a couple of times, and managed to blow over another tree (that's two big ones down for this spring). It sort of landed over a fence and crushed some cattle panels. Bummer!

Morning Clouds at around Sunrise Time (Sun was mostly missing, today)
Clouds before sunrise ... and no sunrise

Tree Over the Fence and Crushing Cattle Panels (Slide show)

April 27, 2009 : Well, those clouds did manage to keep it together overnight. And then it rained a little; and then it snowed a little. The morning measurement showed 0.8" of snow as of about 8:00 AM. That gave us 99.7" for the season. Light snow continued throughout the morning with the accumulator undecided between calling it a trace or another few tenths of an inch. I'll do a mid day measurement soon, just to see if I can give us another bit of snow so that we go over the 100 inch mark! So, as I enter this, the temperature is holding at about 32 to 33 degrees, with light, almost "bright sky" snow, continuing to fall.

... Just back in after 'pushing a stick in it', and I give the snow amount another 0.4" since this morning, so, it's official: 100.1" is the new season total! (I don't know whether to break out the champagne, or find a crying towel!)

Morning Walk across a Snowy Field
Snow returns to the ranch today

April 26, 2009 : A few clouds overnight. A little dusting of snow overnight. I just called it 0.1" and this gives us a total of 98.9" for the 2008-2009 season. Still holding at just under the 100 inch mark! The morning was mostly clear with a fiery sort of sunrise through some lingering ground fog. It was clear, for a short while, and then the mid day through around mid afternoon, it was mostly cloudy, breezy, and feeling rather cool again. The clouds did a break-up dance during the later afternoon to give some of the nicest weather of the day during the late afternoon and early evening. A drawback of the clearing conditions at this time of day is that it will give the temperature an opportunity to return to something below freezing again overnight ... Well, a short time later some long low cumulus are moving through the area. If they "a-cumulu-late" overnight, the cold may stay away. Guess we'll see!

Sunrise through Clouds and Morning Fog
Colorful sunrise through the morning fog and clouds

Nice Late Afternoon Sun and Cloud Mix
Sun and clouds during the afternoon

April 25, 2009 : It was another day of variable weather today. It was cold overnight with clear sky for much of the time period. The morning was mostly cloudy, again a bit windy, some rain, and even some snow flakes blew around for parts of the day. During the early evening the sun was trying to appear, while at the same time, a rain/snow storm cell was moving through the southeast.

Evening Sky to the East
Sun at ranch with clouds to the east

Rain and Snow moving through the Southeast Hills
Rain and snow storm moving over the southeast mountains

April 24, 2009 : There was a full mix of weather conditions around the ranch today. For part of the overnight period, it was clear enough to allow the temperature to fall a bit. Then, clouds and that dropped mostly snow pellets drifted around and about for the early morning and through the middle of the day. The afternoon gave us improving conditions with sun and clouds blown about with a strong wind until late in the evening.

Morning Clouds and Snow Pellets in the Air
Clouds with snow pellets and wind (not visible

Afternoon Clearing with a Sun and Cloud Mix
Afternoon breakup of overcast with clouds and sun

Evening Clouds Drifting over the East Tree Line
Sunny evening sky with floating clouds

April 23, 2009 : As it turned out, yesterday's wind was stronger than I thought. A large tree became uprooted and is hanging in other trees in a non-vertical position. All kinds of pre-sunrise clouds were around today, and actually prevented a visible sunrise from being seen. Today was also a return to wintry conditions with the mid-day temperature dropping to the low 30's and snow squalls falling from the sky. It was one of those days when the high temperature for the day took place at midnight. Lows in the teens are expected tonight.

Uprooted Tree from Yesterday's Wind
Tree that blew over yesterday

Evening Snow Squall in View South
Snow during the early evening

April 22, 2009 : Some of those pre-sunrise clouds were around again this morning. After a quiet and sunny morning, the wind started to whip about a bit and blew in some clouds above along with the dust swirls at the surface. As the day continued, even the late day clouds were impressive.

Sky Today with a Mix of Clouds (Slide show)

Evening Cloud Mix (Slide show)

April 21, 2009 : It was a clear golden start to the day in NW Montana. Almost summer-time temperatures were reached with a high of 77 today!

Golden Sky before the Sunrise
Clear sky and golden sky this morning

April 20, 2009 : A cloud bank to the east over the mountains this morning just kind of stayed in place as the sun rose over it (a little later than usual). This is allowing for a sunny day again at the ranch and spring is fully here with temperatures in the low 70 range today. The sky and clouds were great once more and even the horses managed to laugh it up a bit today!

Jonah Laughing it up in the Afternoon Sun
Jonah laughing about the nice weather today

April 19, 2009 : There were streams of clouds early in the morning mixed with jet streaks and sunshine. These clouds formed some airships of their own later in the day as various waves of them were scattered across the sky.

Clouds Streaks, Jet Streams and Space Ships (Slide show)

April 18, 2009 : A mostly sunny day in NW Montana. The mild temperatures continues to melt the remaining snow and is keeping the creek full of water. Green up is definitely in progress around the ranch.

Sun Reflections on the Water
Sun shimmers off of the paddock pond

Horses Grazing in Greening Grass
Wanita and Corrie grazing along the paddock fence line

April 17, 2009 : A full clear sky overnight and for the morning. Clouds formed during the middle of the day. By the evening, it was mostly cloudy.

Sun Behind the Horses before Morning Feeding
Sunrise over the horsees

April 16, 2009 : Mostly sunny conditions today. The snow at the ranch level has almost gone, except for the banks along the buildings. I did a run today up to the 4200' level and there is still snow at that elevation, but, not for long there either.

Horses Grazing in Afternoon Sunshine
Horses enjoy afternoon grazing on the hillside

Last of Remaining Snow Along the Workshop
Snow remaining along the workshop ... that's about it

April 15, 2009 : It was not a very taxing day around the ranch today. Just an increasing mix of clouds drifted about during the day. No rain, no snow, the only thing of note was a fairly strong breeze that gave an almost winter cold to the air.

View from the North Hill
View from the gopher hunt location on the north hill

April 14, 2009 : A mixed day of sun and clouds around the ranch today. South of here, a major winter storm is churning across Montana. Although it was a bit cool, the day was mostly pleasant as the last of the snow melts away and green-up begins for this year.

Sun and Clouds at Sunrise
Sun and clouds at the beginning of the day

Horses Grazing in Greening Paddock
Horses enjoy the spring grass

April 13, 2009 : Well, the rain was close. The automatic gauge showed just a bit fell shortly after midnight. There was another light sprinkle, just at the time of sunrise. Most of the day was a mixture of clouds and sunshine with even a very light snow flurry around six in the evening. It looks like the sky is again partly cloudy as I enter this, since I can see the sunshine on the trees.

Just Traces of Snow on the Walking Trail
Only traces of snow on the trail this morning

Partly Cloudy Late Afternoon Sky
Floating clouds in the afternoon sky

April 12, 2009 : A day of increasing clouds today at the ranch. The morning conditions of a partly cloudy sky continued to fill with more cloud cover throughout the day. By the evening, it seemed that showers might be close to happening.

Last of the Pasture Snow Pack
Just a little snow left in the outer pasture

April 11, 2009 : Partly cloudy to partly sunny and back and forth throughout the day. The spring conditions continue nicely as almost all of the snow is disappearing from the hills, even those facing north. So, finally, after having snow cover since mid December, I'd list it as a trace to zero at the ranch today.

A Shuffle of Sky and Clouds Today

April 10, 2009 : Conditions were mostly clear overnight. That allowed the temperature to go below freezing again. The morning walk across the outer pasture is showing the impact of the warmer spring conditions with the snow pack working up the hill and grass showing through most of the way up to the trail fence line.

The Sky Just before Sunrise Today
Color in the morning sky this morning

Walking the Last of the Snow Pack
Cool overnight and still able to walk the little remaining snow pack

April 9, 2009 : A very light rain was falling early today. Not enough to make a difference in the water flow, though. Later in the afternoon, even without any additional rain, the creek was flowing a full strength and the ponds in the paddocks are filled to over capacity. There is still a strong overland flood going on where the new pond outlet is crossing a paddock and the summer pasture.

Light Morning Rain Over Southeast Hills
Light morning rain to the southeast

Rock Bridge Filling in Pond Bank Breach
Full pond with rock water dam

April 8, 2009 : Clouds glided in overnight and hung on for most of the day. There was some filtered sunlight and the temperature warmed quite nicely. The upstream meadow is almost snow free and as a result, the creek flow will probably decrease in the next day or so.

Neighbor Farm with snow almost Gone
Neighbor farm with field almost snow free

Snow Field is still Walkable on these Cool Mornings
Morning walk on the snow field ... North facing fields almost snow free

April 7, 2009 : Clear overnight as well as all day today. Spring is finally showing some strength in NW Montana! There is still a lot of snow that needs to melt, but, the water is flowing strongly through the reservoir and creek here at the ranch.

Snow Along Barn and Arena
Still snow banks 3-4' deep along the barn and the arena complex

Water and Ice Floe in Reservoir
Full reservoir and ice almost melted

April 5, 2009 : A warm sunny day for the ranch and animals. The overnight low was again cold enough to freeze the snow pack and allow walking across the still snow covered pastures. As a result of the rapid snow melt, the creek has risen quickly and filled the pond to overcapacity. This has caused three new "outflow" channels to develop, one of them through a downstream bank and directly into one of the paddocks and causing overland flow through the summer pasture. In addition, the rapid thawing has created some hazards around the ranch. This evening, the two of the horses became trapped in mud up to their bellies. Fortunately, it just required my wife and I using lead ropes and a little encouragement (swinging ropes, but not whips) to get the horses lose. The retired horse here at the ranch (22 year old) struggled a little longer and was almost exhausted before we were able to get him out. (Note to myself: Do not leave a gate unchained if you have horses!)

Taffy, Cautious about Crossing Snow Bridge
Taffy not in a hurry to cross the snow bridge

Overland Flooding in the Summer Pasture
Water flowing through the summer pasture

Dog Walk Shadows on the Snow Pack
Shadows of Patti and Cinnamon on the snow

Mud and Water Hole that Trapped Two Horses for Awhile
Water and mud hole in the paddock

April 5, 2009 : Clear conditions for the second day in a row. This again allowed cool overnight temperatures with the middle teens again. There was a good rebound of that low with a high in the middle 50's. The sky stayed clear through the day with less cloud formation caused by snow melt than took place yesterday.

A River Runs Through It
Creek viewed from outer pasture two

Ginger Casts an Unusual Shadow this Morning
Ginger on the morning walk ... my shadow, actually

Clear Sky afternoon View to the Swan Range
View to Swan Mountains from top of the running route

April 4, 2009 : Full clear sky and no obstacles for the sun to shine out today. With a little higher temperature increase, it might even reduce the outer pasture snow pack a bit. This morning, with overnight lows in the low 20's, walking on top of the remaining 6-12" was part of the morning outing with the dogs. There was a bit of a mix of clouds during the afternoon. This did pretty much disappear during the evening hours and I expect another overnight cool down shall take place overnight!

Snow Pack Supports the Morning Walk with the Dogs
Walking the snow pack

Clear Sky for Sunrise and the Entire Day?!
Clear sky to allow the sunrise to appear

Horses Play with a Large Ball this Afternoon
Horses play ball during the afternoon

April 3, 2009 : Today might be the transitional day between this winter-like week and a break into spring conditions. There was an overnight snowfall again today with about another inch of snow. The mid morning was overcast with low clouds and fog over the south treeline. The clouds started breaking up during mid day and by early afternoon a mix of blue sky and clouds allowed the sunlight to melt away the light layer of snow along with some more of the remaining snow pack.

Transitional Day: Snow, Low Clouds to Blue Sky and Sunshine (Slide Show)

April 2, 2009 : As the second day of the month begins, light snow is falling in NW Montana. The pasture that is north facing still has about 6-10" in the snow pack. South facing slopes have been reduced to the ground or just trace amounts with the new snowfall. The temperature is hovering just around the freezing point of water and that will keep the snow accumulation light to just a trace in those areas that have previously melted to the ground.

Patti with Romping Dogs in the Winter Pasture
Snow good for walking yet in winter pasture ... and the dogs love it

And the Winter Continues (Slide Show)

April 1, 2009 : Clouds covered the sky in assorted amounts for the day today. This kept temperatures cool again. However, the combination of the wind, a bit of a drier day, and the changing cloud groups, removed most of the snow that had fallen yesterday, even higher up the road from the ranch.

Reflections on the Water
Sun reflections on the paddock pond

Shadows from the Horse Shelter
Shadows from the paddock shelter

Sun Cloud Mix Today (Slide Show)