Sunday, January 31, 2010

January ... All at Once...It's Over!

So quickly another month has passed. I was going to start my "marathon training" blog again, but, I had a false-start on the training and had to reset my plans after just two sessions (more on that when I get back into the routine). In the mean-time, the month of January has jogged by in record time. Here is a summary of what happened 'Day by Day in NW Montana'.

January 2010 (slide show)

Sunday, January 31, 2010
The light snow that began late yesterday continued off and on overnight and through the day today. It is again 'very white and bright' all around the ranch!

Dashing through the Snow...
Orpheus trotting in the snow

Saturday, January 30, 2010
As the moon ended its trip across the sky early today, the clouds arrived. The mostly clear conditions overnight allowed the temperature to drop into the low teens. Without much sunlight today, the high hovered in the low 30's. Very light snow began to fall just as darkness arrived.

Playing with the Dogs on a Snowbank
Daniel, Ginger, Titan and Taffy on the snowbank

Friday, January 29, 2010
Mostly clear conditions today with just a passing ripple of clouds in the early afternoon. The sun set and clear sky continued into the evening. It was a fine "nearly-full" moonrise.

Bright Sun and Snow Trail during Afternoon Walk
Sun glare and bright snow during mid afternoon

Thursday, January 28, 2010
After clear conditions for the early overnight hours, clouds moved in again. The clouds stayed all day. Temperatures rose through the 20's into the low 30 range.

Sun Lost behind Clouds Early Today
Sun tried to stay but clouds got in the way

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Another day when clouds were the standard for most of the day. The temperatures remain "seasonal" to above normal. As a result, during the daily walk, Titan needs to roll in the snow to cool off. Late in the day, falling temperatures resulted in a decrease of the cloudiness and a starry evening appeared along with the growing moon.

Titan Rolling in the Snow to Cool Down
Titan rolling in the snow during the daily walk

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Again, there was just a glimpse of the sun for the day around the beginning of the day. The day was mostly cloudy throughout the rest of the day but no snow or other precipitation fell. Temperatures continued to vary between 20 to 30 degrees which is nice for a January day in NW Montana!

Sunrise over the Box Elder Tree in the Winter
Sun over the east tree line early today

Monday, January 25, 2010
Light snow, with just a touch of sun, ruled the ranch today. This kept the temperature in the twenties once again as the winter continues.

Snow Falling and the Sun Attempts to Shine
Snow falling while the mid day sun is almost showing

Sunday, January 24, 2010
The clouds at sunrise provided a little color for the start of the day. Light snow flurries fell from time to time. Temperatures held in the twenties for the day's maximum.

Colored Morning Sky
Colored sky over the fence line near the old barn

Saturday, January 23, 2010
Periods of sun today after a few clouds overnight dropped just a light covering of snow.

Taffy, walking on the Snow during mid-day Sunlight
Taffy walking on the snow

Friday, January 22, 2010
Some clearing overnight allowed the temperature to drop into the single digits. Temperatures rose quite nicely through the middle of the day. Clouds built up at that time and kept the normal quick cool-down from taking place.

Orpheus Walks out to Winter Pasture
Orpheus walks out for release into the outer pasture this afternoon

Thursday, January 21, 2010
It was overcast this morning with just a bit of sun trying to break through around the edges. The temperature managed to creep out of the 20's to just the freezing point when the sun found a hole or two in the clouds during the afternoon.

Some Evening Sun Glow on Southeast Hills
Late day lingering sun glow on southeast hills

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The clouds remained in place after the snow that fell late yesterday. As a result, the overnight temperature was steady and kept rising slightly as the day continued. There was some fog around, drifting through the hills during the morning. Mostly cloudy conditions ruled the day through late evening.

Harmony Hoping for Carrot Treats
Harmony hopes for more carrots along woods trail

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Clear overnight conditions disappeared with the arrival of daylight. Clouds persisted through most of the day and kept the temperature somewhat cool again. A project today included getting the wood burning stove hooked up in the arena. The clouds that hung on all day also decided to drop a light half-inch or so of snow late in the afternoon. Hopefully, that will reduce the iciness that resulted from the mild temperatures of the last few days.

Wood Burning Stove surrounded by Scaffolding
Stove waiting for pipe hookups

Monday, January 18, 2010
Today there was again some sunshine resulting in warming temperatures from mid-morning until just around noon. As yesterday, clouds returned in the early afternoon and resulted in a drop in the temperature to just around freezing by early evening. Cloud reduction soon after sunset took place and resulted in a quick cool-down. We might see single digit lows if the clear sky continues through the night.

Horses near the Upper Fence Line
Jonah plus at fence for carrot feeding during the walk

Sunday, January 17, 2010
Variably cloudy conditions today allowed for some sunshine warming during mid-day into the early afternoon. Mostly cloudy sky returned by evening leveling the falling temperature at just around the freezing point.

Mid Day Lunch near the Old Barn
Sunny mid-day as horses feed near the old barn

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Some light rain fell this morning as the temperature continued slowly falling from the high in the mid-40's that was reached late yesterday.

Fence Lines and Snow
Fence lines leading to the barn and arena complex

Friday, January 15, 2010
Mostly cloudy conditions through the day today. Late in the evening some wind brought the warmest temperatures of the day as the thermometer climbed into the middle 40's. The depth of the snow continues to decrease, but Titan shows it still makes for a challenging walk in the snow.

Titan walking the Snow Trail
Titan walking the the snow

Thursday, January 14, 2010
The spring-like month continues with filtered sun and mild conditions for another day. The snow pack is starting to shrink in depth, but is still great for the daily hike through the woods trails.

Hiking up the Trail Hill
Hiking the trail woods hill with neighbors and the dogs

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Today began with the sun burning through some morning fog. The day was mostly sunny with mild temperatures once again. Late evening saw the return of some clouds to prevent a fast 'cool-down'.

Sunrise through Fog and Clouds at Morning Horse Feeding
Morning sunrise through clouds and fog

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Light fog and colored clouds started the day today. Temperatures continued to be fairly mild for January with lows in to 20's to mid 30 highs for the range.

Morning Sky Colors looking up the Driveway
Clouds and light fog greeted the start of the day

Monday, January 11, 2010
The clouds overnight fell closer to the ground during the early morning creating some fog in the area. Later in the day, the fog gravitated the rest of the way into the ground and allowed some brief periods of sunshine. The temperature hovered in the 20's and briefly touched 30.

Morning Fog as the Dogs Run Up the Driveway
Morning fog as Patti welcomes the dogs running back to her

Sunday, January 10, 2010
There was just a dusting of snow overnight. The clouds mostly hung around all day with slowly rising to steady temperatures for most of the day. Late in the day the clouds thinned somewhat and the temperature began to drop. The clearer it gets, the colder it gets. So, you can kind of watch when the clouds came and went by checking the ranch temperature graphs (how cool is that!)?

Along the Woods Fence Line
Another snowshoe walk along the woods fence line

Saturday, January 9, 2010
Mostly cloudy conditions throughout the day today. The temperature slowly rose from just below zero overnight into the middle teens during the afternoon. The temperatures held throughout the evening as a warmer weather event moved into the area.

View through Trees during Snowshoe Hike
Patti and Ginger as they head through the woods

Friday, January 8, 2010
Some clouds drifted in overnight and resulted in a slight rise in the falling temperatures. The day was a mix of sun and clouds. By early evening, colder temperatures returned and the clouds thinned slightly just as the sunlight hours ended.

Going through the Gate
Going through the gate during the daily hike with the dogs

Thursday, January 7, 2010
Mostly clear conditions again today. The temperature managed to climb from an overnight low in the minus teens to just make it into double digits above zero. For, the day, the sky continued to be clear, weather conditions dry, and just a bit of light wind.

Clear Blue Sky over the Horses at Mid Day Feeding
Mostly sunny during the noon feeding today

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Clear sky brought cold conditions to the area today. Temperatures seemed to have bottomed out in the middle single digits overnight, but, the continued clear sky late in the day erased that with double digit below zero here before 10 P.M.

View of the Ranch from the North Hill
View from the north hill during snowshoe outing

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Well, after a few days of fairly consistent conditions, a snow event that began late yesterday dropped about 9" of new snow on the area. This resulted in the plowing crews being somewhat active (with a snow-shoe hike squeezed in between the plowing and snow removal tasks). The horses were quite happy to return to the barn this evening as the wind picked up, and some additional snow began to fall (along with the temperature).

Snow Covered Fence to Old Barn
Snow cover fence leading to old barn

Monday, January 4, 2010
Light snow overnight and off and on during the day. Not much temperature variation, as the clouds and snow seemed to keep conditions steady throughout the day.

Walking the Trail during Light Snowfall
Daily walk, today as light new snow continued to fall

Sunday, January 3, 2010
Mostly cloudy conditions continue at the ranch. With the cloudy trend, the temperatures have been able stay quite mild.

Framed View to Neighboring Farm
View toward neighboring ranch framed by the pine branches

Saturday, January 2, 2010
There were some breaks in the sky today that allowed for brief periods of sunshine. The temperature was mild enough to melt the recent snowfall from the trees and reduce the snow a bit more.

View through Trees to the Ranch
Brief sunlight over the ranch during the mid-day walk

Friday, January 1, 2010
The year began with some additional light snow. With the continued cloudy conditions, the temperature rose above freezing and some of the new snow melted down just a bit.

View Across the Pasture to the Horses in the Distance
New snow in the trees and horses across the pasture

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Quick Catchup of December Events

Well, December went by so fast I forgot to post anything for the entire month. There is something about the time period from the end of October until just after the beginning of the new year that causes the time to quickly pass by. I think it is because the days are shorter, so I end up doing less. It seems the number of hours available to accomplish tasks is the same as it is any other time of the year. But, because of the decreased hours of sunlight (at least in NW Montana) the time passes much more quickly.

In any case, this is a blog posting of the events that took place during December, 2009.

December 2009 (Slide Show)

Thursday, December 31, 2009
There was some additional light snowfall overnight to bring the total for the event to just 1.3". After some glimpses at the sky, returning clouds brought another light snowfall. The hope is for a glance at that "blue moon" tonight, but the forecast isn't favorable for this location.

Light Snow in the Trees and the Horses Grazing
Horses along the trees after light snow today

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The day provided just a bit of sunshine from time to time. This resulted in slightly warmer temperatures. Late in the afternoon, clouds returned to add just another light covering to the current 4" or so that blankets the area.

Horses Along the Fence Line during the Afternoon Walk
Winnie and others along the upper fence line getting some carrots

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A very consistent (if boring) weather pattern continues in NW Montana. Mostly cloudy conditions. Very light snowfall. Temperatures staying just above the single digit values and failing to break out of the teens for another day. (Since all of the outdoor view have looked the same for the last couple of days, I decided to show the indoor scenes since Christmas).

Dog Tired during the Holidays
Titan and Ginger resting with Patti

Monday, December 28, 2009
Clouds continue with just a very, very light floating of snow today. (Almost like there is white lint falling from the air).

Vincent (again) Resting in the Dog Bedroom
Vincent on a cushion in the dog bedroom

Sunday, December 27, 2009
The inversion overcast returned again today. As has been the pattern, overnight the sky was mostly clear and by daybreak, clouds dominated. Looking out over the treeline this afternoon, I could see just some brightness of sunlight, while everything was cloudy lower and here at the ranch.

Dog and Cat Nap
Cinnamon and Scamp resting on the couch

Saturday, December 26, 2009
Mostly cloudy returned for the day today, with just a bit of snow in the air, too. The trend seems to be repeating: Mostly clear overnight for a nice cool down, followed by clouds for most of the day. Repeat until the wind blows hard next spring and the loop changes. (Well, actually, almost any day the weather can change!)

Vincent, waiting to jump up into my lap

Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas to all! The clear sky the allowed the stars to shine brightly overnight became a gray high overcast by daylight. Light snow fell during the morning giving a peaceful quiet to Christmas day at the ranch.

Taffy and Titan hunt for Gifts under the Tree
Taffy and Titan getting their Christmas presents

Thursday, December 24, 2009
The clear sky hung on for most of the overnight period but clouds soon moved in during the first light, blocking the sunrise. Mostly cloudy conditions persisted through the day. However, the clouds began to break just as the sun was over the edge of the hill and tree line to the southwest; thus, setting the stage for another fine cool-down tonight.

Evening Sunlight Glow on the Distant Mountains
Evening sun lights the Swan Range 15 miles to the east of the ranch

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The clouds departed overnight leaving just some lingering cloud formations at sunrise. With the departure of the overcast, so have gone the milder temperatures. As I write this the temperature has fallen from around 30 at sunrise to just below 20 degrees at 10:00 am. I think we had the max early today! ... Update: The varying temperatures rose again slightly during the early afternoon. The horses decided it was a great afternoon for splashing in the melting waterhole. However, clearing conditions later in the afternoon, and dryer air, resulted in the dip into single digit temperatures during the evening. A good cool-down is in store again for NW Montana.

Morning Reflections on the Creek
Sunrise reflections on the creek

Tuesday, December 22, 2009
There was a break from the cloudiness and fog today as the sun managed to show beginning around mid morning. The temperature rose accordingly through the middle 30's and continued the snow melt process. Shortly after noon, clouds again moved into the area and the temperatures dropped before hitting 40 as the clouds took control.

Sunny Mid Day as the Box Elder Basks in Sun and Snow
Box Elder tree in mid day sunshine

Monday, December 21, 2009
Today was another day with cloudy sky, light rain, and some fog. The continued mild temperature is slowly melting the snow pack, leaving only about 5" on the ground.

Afternoon View Southeast with Light Fog over the Snow
Afternoon View to the SE with light fog from the snow melt

Sunday, December 20, 2009
The melting of the snow over the past few days has resulted in a hanging of that moisture just above the ground and tree line today. Temperatures stayed at just around freezing for most the the overnight time period and continued to hold there for most of the day.

Fog Over the Treeline
Fog over the treeline

Saturday, December 19, 2009
A cloudy day again today that just about duplicated yesterday. Temperatures were slightly above freezing again and made some of the packed snow trails a little icy. This afternoon's snowshoe trek included fetching a Christmas tree from the woods.

Bringing in the Christmas Tree
Patti carrying the Christmas tree during the snowshoe outing today

Friday, December 18, 2009
After all of the nice sunshine that took place yesterday, today returned to a mostly cloudy mode. It still managed to push above freezing and a little more snow melt took place, but the day had a cold feel to it from beginning to end.

View across the Paddocks late in the Afternoon
Cloudy afternoon view to the southeast

Thursday, December 17, 2009
Cloud cover overnight gave way to partly cloud conditions early in the day. The breakup of the clouds resulted in mostly sunny conditions through mid-day and into the afternoon. The snow pack slid from the remaining roofs today and the depth was reduced to just 7". Mild temperatures combined with the freshly melted snow is likely to result in foggy conditions tonight and tomorrow morning.

Mid Day View across the Pastures
View along the fence line between pastures three and four

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A light snowfall again took place overnight. The temperature had stayed mild through the night and rose enough during the day to change some falling snow into light rain. The milder temperature also caused snow to slide from some of the metal roofs. Late in the afternoon, some light fog was forming due to the melting of the snow that took place during the day.

Light Fog in the Distance Late this Afternoon
Dunder standing by the fence line late this afternoon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Cloudy conditions through the night and into the day today made for a little more snow (1.8" counting an overnight snow that was followed up with an evening event). It was somewhat warmer today with the evening temperatures holding at near the maximum for the day. Some of the snow is beginning to lose its grip on the fence posts and rails.

Snow Hanging from the Hitching Rail Log
Snow beginning to lose its grip on the hitching rail

Monday, December 14, 2009
Just a little more brightness to the day today as the snow event has ended and the sun tried to break through to highlight the whiteness of the new snow. A total of 11.8" for the snow event. The cold air created a wonderful dry snow covering for the entire area.

Trees Along Upper Pasture Trail
Snowshoeing along the upper pasture fence-line this afternoon

Sunday, December 13, 2009
Cloudy and an additional light snowfall overnight. The total for this event (so far) is 10.0" of light fluffy snow (water equivalent was 0.62", so, pretty dry snow). This snow was just perfect for an afternoon snow-shoe trek around the ranch.

Snowshoeing the First Major Snowfall of the Season
Snow-shoe outing merge of Daniel and Patti out on the trail

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Clouds through the night kept the temperature above zero today (giving us a three-day streak!). Snow began falling during the mid morning and the forecast has it continuing through today and possibly tomorrow, too. This should finally provide an insulating layer for the ground. The last couple of days has seen the ground temperature (sensor at 15" deep) drop from the low 40's to nearly frozen conditions (33.4 this morning).

Horses Enjoy Lunch during the Snowfall
Snow falling as the horses eat lunch

Friday, December 11, 2009
Mostly cloudy through the day today. This resulted in somewhat warmer temperatures but with just a trace of snow the air had a 'damp-coldness' to it that is not as noticeable when it is just cold and dry.

Feeding Carrots to the Horses during the Morning Walk
Daniel feeding the horses during the morning trail walk

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Cloud cover overnight kept the temperature in the positive numbers. Along with the somewhat less cold air, some light snow managed to fall from the clouds. It continued as a not quite perfect three bears day; not too hot, not too cold ... but, maybe a stretch to call it "just right".

Color in the Evening Sky
Almost clearing at around sunset gave the sky some color

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Clouds crept in late yesterday and resulted in slowly rising overnight temperatures (after a double-digit below zero evening). This also resulted in just a trace of snowfall (hardly enough to track a cat). The overcast conditions continued for most of the day as the temperature rose through the single digits and even made it into the positive double-digit range for part of the day.

Light Fog in Morning View of Neighboring Farm
Neighboring farm during morning view as fog and haze linger

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It was clear from sunrise to sunset today. (Even before sunrise, too, I expect). This resulted in cold overnight temperatures. Even with full sunshine today the temperature remained cold all day. The cold will continue for a few more days. As I write this, the thermometer shows -12 degrees (at about 8:30 PM).

Neighboring Ranch during Mid-Day Walk
Bright sunlight during mid day view of neighboring farm

Monday, December 7, 2009
A mostly sunny day at the ranch today. The sunshine can deceive you into believing that it is quite nice out (and, actually, it was ... just a bit on the cool side). As cold conditions are likely for awhile, tonight the horses moved into the barn instead of staying outside overnight like they usually do.

Bright Sunshine during some Cold Weather Days
Bright sunshine during the late morning

Sunday, December 6, 2009
A cool day today at the ranch. The day was a mix of mostly cloudy conditions (not that the sun provides much warming when the angle is such as it is lately (and will be for the next few weeks) along with some wind. However, as often happens, clearing took place early in the evening and has set the stage for a strong further cool-down tonight. Oh, and it as I mentioned, it was quite windy for most of the day today and that added to a general wintry feel to the entire day.

Passing Snow Flurries to the Southeast
Snow passing to the southeast around mid-day today

Saturday, December 5, 2009
It has a winter-like feel about it today, after an overnight of light clouds that were still remaining when the snow of late yesterday ended. Not quite as cold overnight as yesterday, but still a definite "chill" in the air today. This caused Ginger to put on her coat (if you can see it, or her) for the morning walk. Since the house was a little cool, too, Ginger kept her coat on after the walk was over. Later in the day, the wind increased during the afternoon, and the forecast is for a real cool-down during the next couple of days.

Ginger after the Walk (still wearing her coat)
Ginger resting after the morning walk

Friday, December 4, 2009
Cold overnight with a morning firery start. During the daytime there was a mix of clouds and some sun. Late in the afternoon, the clouds gathered enough to drop just a trace of snow. The conditions at the last animal check were mostly cloudy, with just a glance at the departing moon as it drifted through the sky.

Fire in the Sky at Sunrise
Morning sun with a burst of fire lighting the sky

Thursday, December 3, 2009
There was a mix of clouds with the nearly full moon overnight. This mix turned into a mostly cloudy sky for the day today. Just a little hint of sunlight from time to time. By late evening, those clouds began to disappear again and single digits approaching zero can be expected overnight.

Just a Hint of Sun on the Southeast Hills this Morning
A little sun visible above the southeast hills this morning

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Mostly clear to totally clear conditions overnight made for a cool night, indeed. Single digits around the area. Today, with the full sunshine, it made it back to 30 degrees. But, it is going to drop down again tonight as crystal clear conditions continue.

Clouds Over the Southeast Hills This Afternoon
A sunny day with some clouds drifting over the hills

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Some light clouds dropped a little snow overnight that coated the ground this morning. The sky had cleared by sunrise time giving a clear if somewhat cold look to the ranch.

View of the Box Elder Tree in Mid Morning Sunlight
Bright sunlight and fresh snow around the Box Elder tree