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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's happening, it's really happening!

Snow! And boy is it a bit cold to go with it. Which makes it a light drifting of snow. One of those that you can sweep away a bit at a time until the cold breaks the brand new broom. Yes, you read that right, I blamed it on the cold... And it was a cheap broom and we got what we paid for. I went to bump the snow stuck in the bristles off on my boot and it just snapped the head of the broom right off. It was the plastic part that broke, not the bamboo. Gotta love bamboo, to bad the fittings were plastic.

The mountains have actually been getting it quite a bit the last couple of weeks. Several times when I've been looking online at weather reports for the surrounding ranges and their recreation areas have been under avalanche warnings.

A little blurry as I snapped this with my phone as The Guy was driving home.

But today, we seem to be actually getting a bit of it and I'm thankful that we got good and cold first. When I had to go into town yesterday for my human resources meeting for the new job that I start in the next few days, the roads were a mess when I hit 19th street. It appeared that they got the rain that froze and then was snowed upon as predicted for Sunday evening. It was a mess, and as soon as you got away from the mountains the roads cleared up. I decided after driving in a line of slow pokes (the road was actually just wet at that point) to cut through some back roads I discovered the other week would take me where I wanted to get to, that the locals that know how to drive in these conditions seemed to have the same idea.

Why wait for all the timid ones who want to go 35 in a 70, when you can at least go 55 on the back roads? The new tires helped too, but the roads in that area were just wet and clear of ice, it was a bit ridiculous and I was tired of getting a snotty windshield from the drivers ahead of me.

It's funny, it always seems to be that people drive either too timidly for good conditions or crazy for bad conditions, but at least here there seems to be a good chunk of people who drive well, and far fewer cars on the road anyhow.

Friday afternoon as I was cleaning up the back yard, I noticed the moon and venus standing out. Mars is close by but so much dimmer that we couldn't see it until full dark and the moon was close to setting and wasn't visible well from here or I would have tried for another snapshot.

Now that we're back in the land of clearer skies I hope to get some better nighttime photos.

I was trying to get these sky photos off the camera when I realized I still had some photos on here from Michigan that I thought I had shared a long time ago. Obviously since they were still on the cameras memory card, I had not done that.

I actually found quite a few and will share them over the next few weeks. These last couple were from a few weeks prior to our move. Between he rainbow and the sunset lit rain clouds, it was a pretty night though a bit windy.

I could have sworn I shared this little bit of National Geographic excitement from our front yard last winter before but I found them on the camera too. On the ground there is a mourning dove that just dove down to the snow to get away from the swoop of the hawk you can just make out in front of the lowest branches there.

The dove tried to then lift off and get into the cover of the pines.

But it was a bit too late.

I think this may have been the fist interactions we had with our little Coopers Hawk that appreciated our bird feeders.

I remember as a kid that our neighbors always fed the pigeons around the corner.

My mom used to always complain about them pooping on her car. I think she drove her little red le Baron at the time.  She was proud of that zippy little red car.

We were walking back from the park with our dog Cali one afternoon for a romp and we happened to see the Goshawk round the corner just about a foot off the street and nail a pigeon as it tried to lift off and topple into the neighbors yard with its fresh kill.

As we finally walked by and it carried the kill into the trees our neighbor came out and freshened up the seed he always left out on the sidewalk and saw us.

He smiled and made some comment about feeding pigeons because it kept the hawks around.

My mom never complained about it again and shortly there after my stepfather made a bird feeder for our back yard, though it was constructed in a way that the pigeons couldn't really get into it and we never saw the goshawk hunting the blackcap chickadees and other small songbirds, though I'm sure they could have.

I think the raptors preferred the bigger meatier pigeons. There's a reason people used to regularly eat pigeon pie after all. Had they not been around I'm sure they would return to eating the smaller birds when able to catch them though.

We need to get a bird feeder set up here but it will be more helpful when I know what plants we have here in our yard as well. It's a nice bonus to have the hawks but I too would prefer if they stuck to the invasive eurasian doves (or the eurotrash as The Guy calls them), over the small songbirds and hope they have enough cover to escape into here.

That reminds me, I never did cut the clematis loose of their last years mornings here. I recognized that vine no matter the lack of leaves.

This hawk was incredibly patient about letting me snap shots. When I got cold and moved to go in, she decided to try moving off with her lunch.

Trouble if I ever saw it...
We also have a couple stupidly placed pine/spruce trees that might be perfect christmas tree size for the next couple years that need to come out. Who puts in a pine over their southern exposure close to the biggest set of windows the house has? They block out much needed light come winter, so they'll come out over the next couple years and we'll try to correct the weird little park thing they tried to make and plant something hardwood with pretty fall foliage and cold tolerant. Lord knows we need some trees with deep roots so we don't have to water much with the cost of water and sewer here.

So, not a lot of new stuff here. Just figuring out the house and trying to find work here. Cooking again as you can see here by the braised pork chops with cinnamon pears and summer cucumber salad. Gotta keep the vitamin C intake up! Don't want any winter scurvy after all.

And knitting. I had to throw out my old ratty dog chewed slippers before moving. Well, I didn't have to, I just saw no reason to keep them. Last week I whipped up a pair of the unfelted slippers for myself. I've had this yarn saved for this project for a couple years, don't know why I stalled on casting these on so much. It was a very easy and fast knit. Literally, from start to finish it's about 2 hours per slipper. And when I say start to finish I mean cast on, knit, seamed, and ends woven in. That's it, 2 hours apiece. Just a quick christmas knit idea if anyone needs one.

I used two skeins of Cascades Pastaza Paints yarn held double and had plenty left over. Yes, it's discontinued so you will have a hard time finding it but any worsted/aran weight yarn held double would work. I chose this which is a single ply because with wear it will lightly felt in the heel area and become a bit stronger. I made the talked about size for myself but I only wear a mens 8. I could probably have added two more stitches to either side to make them fit a little bit better but this will work and they're a bit sock like as they are.

I have the Peace Cowl on the needles and will be wrapping it up in the next couple days as I'm absolutely bored with it. It's a pretty waffle stitch pattern, and thankfully I have to change my stitch pattern every couple rows, but I'm still tired of it. Not the patterns fault, it says more about me than it does the pattern, but the idea around the peace-along I feel is something that we need.

As for the yarn, sorry, that's some of my handspun from the huckleberry fiber club. As usual, it's gorgeous stuff. Any one interested in spinning; whether an old hand or just beginning, I encourage to check out her store, and of course, the fiber club. Love this stuff. I need to get back at it! I have some blue stuff on the wheel that really needs to be wrapped up.

And then there's the wrap I started so that I could buy some yarn from the local yarn store I've been frequenting. I just feel that if Im going to knit and be social there, I should have something in the bag that's from their stock. You know? It's only polite. It's a bit of a pattern I somewhat made up, and the yarn is a lovely linen, silk, and wool mix called Kookaburra from KFI. It's a single ply that isn't the best for a semi-lace pattern but it's going to be lovely when completed. It has such a fun texture as it's a bit of a thick and thin yarn but not to extremes. It's just going to add tot he finished ripple affect.

There's a couple other project that are on the needles but I've decided I have too much stuff going right now and am buckling down. I need to wipe these two projects out, I have two more knit projects in the background that need to be completed before I can even contemplate starting something else, not the mention the spinning project that should be done too so I can get something new on the wheel. And let us not discuss the loom, though I have plans. Big ones ;-).

Emmitt just the other day got himself in big trouble nesting in our bed. I had just mentioned the day previous that I hoped he was finally over this behavior as he hadn't done it since we moved. He likes to pull back the covers so he can lay on the sheets that smell like us, and up against the wad he's made of the covers. I was sitting in the next room, literally, right by the door and heard something that made me go investigate. He jumped off and tried to slither by but he got a swat on the rump despite his stealth. Nothing like dog hair and sand on fresh sheets. Little butthead.

Like the snoozing Tucker in this photo, I think I'm done in for the day. I bought this photo the other night when I realized that he had fallen back to sleep after itching his own face. That pink thing under the rope knot at the bottom, is his tongue sticking out his open mouth. So ridiculous.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Accidental Bingo

This weekend I went to social knitting at a local yarn store and one of the gals there mentioned that the other night she went to "bingo accidentally". Another knitter and I could not refrain from asking how one goes about going to bingo accidentally and it struck me as there perfect name for a band or blog post. So, I bring you todays offering of Accidental Bingo along with some old photos off the big canon.

The first is from our late summer fun up to Traverse City. We went out towards Old Mission on the peninsula and we stopped to take a look at the old historic light house. We got there just in time as the parking lot was filling up as we were leaving with the boys.

Unfortunately the skies were grey until after we sat out the falling rain while we had pizza at Pangea Pizza in town, huddled with the dogs in their 3 seat beer garden. Don't ask, I don't know.

We have hopes since we've heard people talking about the presents of cranes in the summer that we are not finished hearing these guys on warm mornings. I saw a huge blue heron flying over a small stream here the other day heading home from town, so there's hope that there's more birds around the area than were in Casper.

I snapped these one morning off the deck in Michigan. Stupidly I think I deleted the originals of these photos the other day and now can't blow them up better. Some people...

I know they say we have a lot of these guys in Alaska, but unless you're willing to be out in the mosquito ridden bogs and marshes, you don't often see them. Typically you'd spot them flying over but they have a tendency to stay away from the more populated areas there. Even spotting them at Potters Marsh was a rare treat, despite it's constant population of ducks, swans, and other birds such as Terns and Harriers.

I've seen a harrier over some of the local hay fields several days now. I love how they zoom across the ground at such low altitude for such a big bird, trying to scare hares and other small mammals into running. We saw a ring necked pheasant the other day too, I'm sure an escapee from a hunting farm, and I wondered if a Harrier would take one of them too.

This is a bad picture through two layers of gazebo screening and a window screen of our little Coppers Hawk that liked to try to get our chickens if we hadn't been keeping songbird traffic high with full feeders. It took me a couple times of chasing this guy out of the yard before I realized the connection to empty feeders and seeing him. I doubt he could have taken down a chicken as I think our girls outweighed him, but I'm guessing there was a nest of hungry hawklings somewhere needing food, and hunger talks.

Just the other day we were looking at a red tail hawk and it struck me that I think the ones here are bigger than the ones in Michigan. I thought that when we first moved there, but then thought that I was probably imagining the size difference until we saw one skulking in a tree here. They really do seam substantially larger than the red tails in Michigan.

I think I shared some photos of the praying mantis I had on my cell phone, but I pulled the ones off the canon while I was at it. They're a bit better than the iPhone ones.

Stop with the heebie jeebies, they're just photos. Besides, this girl was hunting the damn box elders. One night I had to have The Guy help me so I could clean one of our windows out that had probably a couple hundred dead beetles in it before the house went on the market. I don't know how they would get under the screens but they would, then roast against the glass and fill up the space between the screen and glass. Ugh, I'll take one of these mighty huntresses anytime.

I mentioned before that at first glance I just thought she was another grasshopper because we had them bad this past summer out near us. I snapped this on the stoop on the same day and as a reference, this guy is at least as long as my index finger and about the same circumference too.

The rest of these are all from Thanksgiving Day when after I got the bird in the pot we went out the Missouri River Headwaters State Park. It was a lovely day for a walk with just a bit of a breeze.

Fort Rock
The park is situated where the Jefferson, and Madison rivers come together to start the beginning of the Missouri river. Some people argue that the Missouri should be marked from it's start at the Brower Spring upstream of the Jefferson and that the Jefferson river is actually still the Missouri, But Lewis and Clark back on July 18th, 1805 decided that neither tributary could be called the Missouri, thus causing a debate as to which river (Missouri or Mississippi) is the longest river in North  America though it has traditionally been understood that the Missouri is. Combined with the Mississippi at the point of convergence, they create the 4th longest river system in the world.

Gallatin river then joins the waters of the Jefferson and Madison less than a mile downstream forming the actual headwaters of the Missouri.

It's a great area to have less than 10 miles down he road to walk the boys. There was only a few other people out there this day. Last week when I decided to take a post interview stroll I wandered through quick and was the only person as it was threatening to snow.

The Bozeman area sits in a wide valley that interrupts a couple of smaller ranges that help to make up the rockies. We live just a ways up the road outside of town and have a great view of the Bridger's and Ross peak from our place that lay directly to the east.

Though not visible from here, on the other side of the Bridger's is another wide valley that is hemmed to the east of it by the Crazy mountains, then to the the south by the Absaroka Mountains that can be seen barely from here.

The Bridger Mountains as seen from the overlook atop Fort Rock.
Next to the west that borders the south of the Bozeman valley is the Gallatin Mountains and then Spanish Peaks.

Way across the valley to the southwest you can then see the crags of the Tobacco Root Mountains.

And then not visible to the north then Elkhorns and the Big Belt Mountains border us in to the valley. Gorgeous country no matter how you look at it and I hope to get these boys out in it as much as possible.

I believe this is the Gallatin Mountains and Spanish Peaks looking south.
Just like Wyoming though, I'll have to make sure that we take care in packing water. We no longer live in a land of ample ground water sources. I better find the dog back packs, eh?

Although it does seem slightly wetter than Casper was, though it's still a fairly arid environment. I've already had to up my moisturizing game and even bought my first chapstick since leaving the west.

I just realized how gray even his back paws are going on me.
The boys seem to have a great time out for a grand romp off leash as they have been on leash and re-learning some of their forgotten manners of being on leash when they're around town. Buttheads.

Actually, it's nothing bad, but they do tend to just be a bit better off leash since that's how they spend most of their time. Tucker in particular seems to forget he is not to pull while on leash.

I'm sure walking here though Sullivan wanted to zoom in that tall grass so bad.

He was still getting over his gut bug from earlier in the week.

And just has he was recovering, Tucker stopped eating and was having runny butt. So The Guy got to take him to the vet while I went to knitting. I swear, what's wrong with my priorities?

Turns out that this guy had the same issue, though not near as bad as the big guy, but since Sullivan is so sensitive, especially his gut, that's not at all surprising.

He's on the mend now to with antibiotics and some extra loving. He's a bit worrisome because he's still less than 70 pounds after his surgery, and though that's easier on his joints he feels to dang skinny and has no real reserves should he get truly ill.

Emmitt was a bit sickly one morning but that seemed to be the end of his issues after coming in from being outside to vomit at The Guy's feet, because nothing says I love you like throw up on your toes. Does it? I'm willing to bet that it was the same bug but Emmitt being a little garbage gut fought it off on his own. I'm wondering if the last round of sickness Shiela had in Casper that caused bloody stools and vomiting was the same bug. It was the only time I was ever worried about her gut as she, like emmitt seemed to be able to handle anything. Even at her age when we had the sickness on our Grand Canyon trip, all three of the other dogs recovered when Sullivan had to go to the vet and go on meds. Of course, the dog that would cost the most due to size would be the one that needs such intervention.

Here's the bustling metropolis of Gallatin City... Amazingly, there's no tumble weeds. The old hotel is the only real building standing still at this point. That's the second in from the left. The other buildings is someones hot, barn ad the interpretive plaza sight. Those are the Gallatin Mountains in the background and I believe a little winding arm of the Gallatin river in the foreground. From this vantage point the Gallatin is toe our left (east) and the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison rivers is across the road directly to our right (west) of us and they join behind us about a half mile to the north. Okay, geography lesson of the day is done. I have some turkey soup to be getting to. The joys of holiday left overs!

That's times upon us and I found this while looking for a full clip of the show where I first heard of these guys. We always need some acapella, right? Well, good Acapella, despite knowing this is a studio version that's been produced heavily.

Here's another of theirs.

This is a part of the clip that I originally wanted but it doesn't have the whole interaction. This is from the show The Sing-Off that was an acapella competition. It was as close to shows like American Idol that I liked.

And for those that know me and know that I don't care for a lot of Christmas songs, this show led me to my favorite rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I've always liked Jewel's voice, but truly love this performance of hers. Fast forward to about a minute in if you don't want to hear all the banter. That's why I like watching these snippets on youtube and can do exactly that.

And while we;re talking about her and since it popped up, might as well share it.