Monday, March 30, 2009

March -- Going out like a LION!

My van that is not going to go anywhere soon!
Hillside out our back door to the east past St. Mary River.

There is 18" of new snow...and drifts pretty darn high...then the wind whipped the snow around and there are places where the ground is actually clear...not too many of these places, however!

This is right outside our back door...the other day a very large grizzly was crossing the little creek and heading to the haystack area to the right of the picture. I was walking around the haystack in the very same area! I was yelling for my dogs while I was walking. Later when I got back to my house, I saw this very large grizzly going back across the creek from the haystack area! Our guard dogs spotted it and took out after it. So, I was kind-a saying "Yikes!" to myself.

The bears have been sighted for a few weeks now. There is a sow and her cubs that was spotted. We sit right down on St. Mary River and then across the river are hills and nothing much else for miles. We look out our windows and can see elk grazing on the hillside and also see bear.

The temperature is heading upwards toward the 40's so that is nice. I hear there is another storm that is suppose to be coming in. Good moisture...but we are getting some early calves and this is not good for them.
I am hoping April will be more Spring-Like and gentle, we start calving in early April.
I am thinking in pastels, and soft greens, and pretty floral colors and really hoping for an early spring here by the mountains. I have seen it snow every month of the year and I have seen it be a very nasty April, also. We just never know...there is no "normal weather" for us, it seems.
I hope you are all having a good day...anyone seeing flowers and green grass out there, anywhere????

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Canadian YUMS! See recipe below!
March 17th...Happy St. Patrick's Day!..

It was 26 degrees this a.m. and the wind was whipping across the flats/meadows! Hang on to your hats, vehicle doors, and anything else that could take "flight" when the winds blow. I sometimes wonder what we would talk about if it were not for the "Winds"...What could you blame things on if it were not for the winds?

One of our famous sayings is, "What a lovely day, if the wind wasn't blowing..." The WIND affects everything in our life in our area. You can ignore it if you so can pretend you do not hear it whistling through the few trees that can live in this area. Or roaring down the that a low-flying jet!

Where are the lawn chairs, what happened to the cat, where are the quonset doors, where is that beautiful hanging plant, what happened to the bedroom window -- all gone without any notice -- just gone, done for...oh, the cat survived and is okay.

I remember once when I was opening the border gate one early morning...there were vehicles on both sides of the gate...anyway, I unlocked the lock, pulled the chain off and WHAM, the gate hit me in the face! I stood there, WOW the pain of it, but I was brave -- no tears, no bad words, very professional...removed the chain and lock as usual, took the gates and opened them, attached them to their proper posts, climbed back into my vehicle! The waiting vehicles passed into the US from Canada...I then let out a scream...the gate had slammed my glasses into my nose, dismantled the glasses and rearranged my nose. And so, that is how the wind started my day, that day. I tend to dislike gates to the point of "hate". Gates have caused me considerable damage in my Montana life. Once a cow hit a very heavy gate and then "threw" the gate into my face, slamming into the left side of my face at my left eye socket. Broke my cheek bone in three places, really rattled my brain and has left me with headaches to this day. But, I can't blame that on the wind!

But, this is not why I started this post! Have you ever had Canadian Yums??? I think this recipe is a corruption of the Nanaimo Bars first made in British Columbia, Canada. But when you compare the recipes they are almost the very same. I have changed a few parts of the recipe to suit me.

Canadian YUMS (most recipes are for a 9" pan...who can only make a 9" pan...?)

13" pan:

3/4 cup melted butter

7 tablespoons sugar

7 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoon real vanilla

...melt these ingredients in a sauce pan...when melted, whip in 2 eggs, when mixture thickens, remove from the heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups grapham cracker crumbs (you can also add nuts or coconut at this point -- I do not).

Pat this mixture into a pan, I use a rubber spatula to smooth it into the pan. Cool in fridge.

2nd layer:

8 Tablespoons butter

6 Tablespoons milk

4 Tablespoons instant vanilla pudding

(or use custard powder)

2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat these ingredients together, spread over the cooled bottom layer -- put in fridge.

3rd layer:

I use 1 can sweetened condensed milk; heat on stove until warm (do not boil). Add 2-1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips (or semi-sweet if you prefer), stir over low heat only until the chips are melted and smooth, add 1 tsp vanilla. Remove from heat and spread over the pudding filling. I keep my Canadian Yums in the freezer. Cut into squares, as you would fudge, 'cause at this point it is fudge.

If you will look up the recipe for Nanaimo Bars you will see that the recipe is similar. Some say that using Canadian custard powder or pudding powder makes it taste that much better. I have always used Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding. Using real cream instead of milk will make it that much richer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I am so in need of green grass and spring!

Ahhhhhh...some green grass...this is at the Top of Logan Pass or Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Glacier National Park! The white flowers are Bear Grass, from the lilly family. There are some years when the Pass is just covered with Bear Grass and that is quite a sight to see!
Spring comes very late to our area of the world, which is sad...spring flowers bloom in what would normally be summer for most folks. Pity the poor flower that needs a long growing season!
I remember the first winter in Montana. A very deep snowfall came in early September, and then when it cleared away, fall came and was very brief! The winds blow the fall leaves off the trees in a very short time. You have to be quick to catch the fall colors in our part of the world.
The 70's had some very hard winters, very cold temps, and lots of snow. Plus some very dry summers with not enough moisture for hay meadows and crops to feed the livestock in the winter.
I could not believe winters could be so long and that the earth could stay so brown for that long! So, I am definitely ready for spring...but I know that we could have another whole month of winter in April. I have seen it snow every month of the year. I was especially impressed when it snowed in August one year...good grief...August!
It is near impossible to grow any type of flowers in our windswept area. Columbines do grow and seem to tolerate the wind. I am always looking for a "protected" area to try and grow any flowers. We had some beautiful Peonies last year that are planted by the house for protection. I have made the mistake of buying beautiful hanging baskets in years past that blew away!
It is so hard to go west across the mountains and see all the wonderful blooming plants, bushes, etc and know that you are sealing their death if you bring them back to our east side of the mountains and expect them to grow! Some plants just really get their growth and then our first frosts will can frost any night of the summer.
Tried to grow squash a few years, 90-day growing period they need. Not here folks, no 90-days to be able to bloom and then produce squash and have it mature here.
I think it was just last week that we had -36 with windchill...then just wait a day or two and it is 40 to 50 degrees...I have seen this temperature change in a few hours one year.
We are pouring over the seed catalogues and wondering what plants we should subject to our climate this year. Hmmm....
This post is sounding rather dismal, sorry for that.........maybe the older I get the less I like 8-month winters and walking on snow covered ice...
Time for me to go collect chicken eggs and feed the "girls"...
Happy Green thoughts to all...and Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow -- March 17th!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Winter returned...darn it anyway!

Little size 2 lambs -- approximately 6 inches tall and 8 inches long! One with a fuschia bow and one with a lavender bow!

Winter decided to return this past week...I really don't mind the snow, but I do mind the COLD! With the windchill this a.m. it was -36 degrees below zero...I wrote it all out, 'cause it was that cold according to our weather station that we have in our home.

I think it was Wednesday night and early Thursday morning when the wind came whipping in and blew away the snow that fell earlier that week...then it had to go and snow again on Friday and Saturday.

I was able to make two size 2 lambs last night and this morning. I will put a picture of them at the top of this blog post.
It is tax time...and it is not my favorite time of the year. Every year I say I will do a better job so it will be easier when the time comes. But the days, weeks, months pass and then I have to go through everything to input it all into the budget sheets. My daughter-in-law has set up a good system for me, thank goodness! But you have to take the time to make the entries as you go.
This is brief because I have to keep at it to get the accounting done.
....more later........take care and enjoy your family and friends!