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

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