Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Watching the Waterways!

This is the canal and at this point it goes under the Kennedy Creek. The canal is to the west of us.

This is Kennedy Creek which joins up with the Saint Mary River which runs behind our corrals. Kennedy is to the north of us.

In the distance up against the hills is our ranch with Kennedy to the left in the picture. (Saint Mary River runs along the back tree line by the bottom of the hills.)

Kennedy Creek

This time of year we think of flooding or the possibility of flooding. Our home place is located in a flood plain. We are rather surrounded with water of some sort or another. And if the snow melt is hastened by a lot of rain, things could get rough or really wet -- fast!
Yesterday my husband called for me to come to the front door of our home. "Listen to the creek," he said. You could hear it roaring down to the Saint Mary River which is behind our home. The canal runs under Kennedy Creek and then comes back up to go between meadows and drops down by Camp Nine Road and travels on its way to Malta, Montana.
And so our thoughts turn to the "what ifs" of the waterways each year at this time. We were in the flood of 1975 when Kennedy took out the bridge over highway 89 cutting off traffic. Highway 89 is the only road from the Canadian Border on down to Babb and on south. We evacuated our home place and went to higher ground during that flood. For us to get back to the ranch we had to travel the canal bank east and drive over planks where other bridges were out then come in from Browning and back to the ranch. Browning is 45 miles from our home place plus the miles it took to get to Browning. That was a year of adventures to be sure.
Our trees and bushes are way behind. I hear tell that lilacs are blooming in other places...our bushes are just getting leaves (I hope). The clumps of quakes (aspen trees) usually are budded out by now or have a very good start. Not this year.
Our grass around our home is actually needing mowing just from the rain the other day.
...I did see Shooting Stars the other day! They are always so lovely to see!
....take care....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Drive up Chief Mountain Highway!

Summer is here...because Chief Mountain Port of Entry opened today for the summer season! I took a drive up the highway and took some pictures of the Chief...a wondeful mountain that is 9060 feet high. I will post them here in my blog. The Chief can be seen for hundreds of miles around and each view is really different. If you look for The Chief from Cut Bank, Montana (80-ish miles from here, it has a very slender rise into the sky -- from the Chief Mountain Highway (17) it is broad and longer, but as you go up the highway it too changes.
And, of course, no ride up Chief Mountain Highway would be complete without a bear sighting. This little cinnamom bear was right off the highway. When I first saw her she had two little cubs with her -- one light colored and one dark -- the little cubs shot into the brush. She, however, just stood there while I tried to take a picture from my car window.
I was going to take a picture of the port, but it is a mess with some kind of construction going on!
Happy trails everyone!

Good Friday Morning!

Early morning pictures -- first picture is looking out over our little creek towards the mountains by St. Mary (about 10 miles from us); second picture is a closer look of the mountains; third picture is out our back door and yard by the creek and where we see a lot of bears. Beyond the trees is the St. Mary River. Third picture is of a creek that runs by our yard. Yellow Cat always takes a walk with me, my "fierce" protector (besides my Anatolians).
So, it snowed and rained last night! It is about 34 degrees this morning with ice on the deck. I hear the weather is suppose to improve this weekend. Great Falls is calling for temps in the high 70's! You just never know in Montana what the weather will do from minute to minute!
Queen Victoria Day weekend in Canada this weekend! Happy Holiday All! Travel safely!
Have lots to do, so I will leave you all with this little post!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is all the RUCKUS about!!!

...that is what I was yelling this morning about 0630 hours...the dogs were just going crazy outside my window by the quonset! What the heck was the problem! I got up to look out the window and there was a grizzly...totally too close to the house...right by the quonset with the dogs barking at him -- very up close and personal they were. The bear ran a-ways and stood up...at first I thought that is not such a very big bear...but when it stood up, well, I had to rethink my analysis of the situation. This looked like a total disaster -- milk cows, calves, little bull right by the grizzly. Grizzly rearing up with it's arms in the air! The milk cows were going wild and as were the calves. My old Anatolian was struggling to stay on her feet and still go after the bear. Turk, Anatolian, was right in there with the bear. The bear decided to go west and then north over to the Kennedy Creek area! Dogs in pursuit.
This is one of the few pictures I could get of the bear going down our ranch road. This was taken from my front yead, 'cause I did not know which way the bear was going to go. Darn camera does not take closer pictures. The bear was a grizzly and rather cinnamon in color. The bear did not appear to be too old. Might have just been weaned and was confused as to where it should be!
How it got this close to our home is a mystery at this point. There was fresh snow on the ground and my husband and I looked for tracks coming from the back by the creeks and waterways. Could not find any. It may have come down the road...won't ever really know for sure.
After the bear left, I went out to the quonset and saw all the scuffle marks from the bear -- it looked as if the bear went into the heavy mesh wire that closes off the northwest side of our quonset (Mr. Wind blew the doors off many years ago and wrapped them around the semi truck that was parked near...whole 'nother story). I called for my hens that live in the quonset...not a sound could be heard. Finally found them all huddled in the extreme east side of the quonset, making little sounds to each other. Such drama so early in the morning. I notice I have less eggs today...
During all this bear/dog/chicken stuff I was yelling for my husband who I thought had gone out to milk. But since I saw the milk cows dashing wildly around the corral area from the bear, I knew he was not milking in the barn. When all the excitement was over I went back to the house. I now was worried that perhaps an older bear (bigger) might have gotten Marvin because we had seen a pair just a day ago. Then I saw Marv walking toward the quonset from the northeast. He never heard me, the dogs, nor saw the bear. He had been walking back
"behind"by the creek area and did not know there was a bear or anything going on. (A few years back, Marv had been walking back in the trees by the creek when he heard a clacking sound...there was this BIG grizzly clacking it's jaws together! Now, that is a YIKES! They both decided to go a different way!)
...and so that is how my day started out! Rather a jump-start to the daily activities! Nothing like a little adrenalin pumping through your body in the early a.m.
...and so another day is coming to an end........hey! It is almost the Queen's Birthday in Canada and that means that the Chief Mountain Port of Entry will open this Friday the 15th for the season...does that mean it is summer. I hear tell that the snow up on the Chief Mountain Highway is very HIGH...plowed and open (?) but the sides of the roads tell a different story (so I am told). It seems in the past, the snow was a common occurance on the Queen's Birthday (Queen Victoria Day in Canada).
...so all you Canadians....hello and have a good Holiday weekend! Drive safe!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The day after Mother's Day

It is the day after Mother's Day. I hope everyone that reads this had a good day yesterday. I was kind-a down in the dumps yesterday. My sweet Mom passed away in 1977 from cancer, she was only 61. Then you hear of other Moms that are not feeling very well, it makes me sad.

In the past few years, or so it seems, I have been either having close encounters with Grizzly bears or at least see them close by. No sightings yesterday. But this morning my husband called for me to come and see something. There was a sow and her cub right out back of our home by the creek. Our dogs were going crazy. I will not be going walking beyond the little creek.

So, my walks will be very limited, it seems wherever I have loved to walk before the bears are now!

But getting back to yesterday. We are calving on our ranch, so everyone is very busy tending the cattle and little calves. I was home alone, doing some sewing and a few other things. I decided to make myself some fried chicken -- how I love fried chicken! I bread it just so and it is delicious -- so much better than eating out. I totally enjoyed the chicken, pears, and boiled potatoes!

This is short, but I have some lambs to finish up on! Everyone take care.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Now for some good smells!

French bread hot out of the oven!

Miniature orchids -- most orchids that I have had did not have an odor, however, the light colored one does -- very delicate and sweet.

This is a Hoya bud and at the end by the leaf the little spur or stubs of the plant that the bud/bloom comes from ...never take these off, they form the bud/bloom year after year.

A Hoya Bloom, very sweet smell and sticky they drip! Also called the wax plant, the flower appears to be made of wax.

I planted some cosmos seeds in my poinsettia and they grew about a foot or more and then are blooming. What fun. This delicate flower would probably blow away if planted outside in the summer.

At one time I had so many plants, my living room was like a conservatory! My son and a friend built me a pond 3' x 5' with a fountain! What fun, I had with all my wonderful plants and flowers! I found out that the only way to really have any green in Montana because of the long winter seasons, was to grow plants inside. The sun from the windows made them huge. Some plants loved the east and north exposure. I had mega plant books and plants! What a total joy it was to see them grow huge. However, as I became busier with my job and did not have winters off, my plants began to suffer.

One day, I began calling friends and asked if they wanted any of my plants. They had to come right away before I changed my mind. I did keep my tree, but after so many years, it finally started to die out. I also kept my Hoya.

The Hoya came into my life in the 1970's. I never was a plant lover because of my allergies. I enjoyed looking at flowers and such but never really wanted to grow any. A long came a neighbor and wanted me to plant sit their Hoya. Gads, the thing looked awful. It was housed in an old rusty coffee can and was all stiff looking. Well, I kept this thing in the living room of my old home and it sat there in it's rusty coffee can and did nothing! No growth, no blooms -- nothing. The neighbors came back and said they did not want it back -- that I could "keep" it! Wow, I was very pleased -- so not! I thought what the heck, let's get it out of that rusty coffee can and into a nice pot. Long story short it began to grow and put out new leaves. However, I decided to buy some plant books. I found out that a Hoya likes to be pot-bound or it won't bloom. It can take upwards to 7 years or some such for it to bloom...gasp! Anyway, the plant likes a north or east window and it thrived. Finally, it did bloom -- I found these funny little plastic-looking pink things stuck to my rug and wondered what the kids had been into. They declined to take responsibility for the little pile of sticky mess. I looked the plant over and glory be!...it was putting out blooms after 7 years. So, this mama plant thrived and bloomed its heart out...until one of it's very long vines came to rest upon an open bag of potatoes that were sitting on the floor in the kitchen. I had noticed that the potatoes had some kind of white fuzzy things on them. Well, they took over my wonderful (by now, I had become very attached to this darn plant) Hoya and were destroying it! I tried everything I could find to "do-in" the mealy bugs, but nothing worked. So, I decided to take a small cutting off the Hoya and throw away a plant that had been with me for over 20 years! Awful! But the cutting rooted in water and now is a big plant in the east window and is blooming profusely every single year in the spring. I mean to tell you that sweet smell can knock you off your feet in the morning. The plant is covered with blooms. And, is so pot bound, that I worry about it.

Another good smell is the smell of bread baking! Yum, just took the French bread out of the oven! It is called the Best French Bread recipe! It is so very easy to make! Most of the work is done in the bread maker, then when the dough is just so, I take it out of the bread machine and roll it into a wonderful loaf! Just finished eating some!
....now, I really must get some other things done!

Boy! Do the Anatolians smell bad this morning!

The skunk has struck! I heard all this barking last night from the Anatolian guard dogs -- Turk, Feather, and Boo-B00 and wondered what on earth was happening out there.

Well, this morning I knew the answer. Wow, Turk and Boo smell awful. And both want to "cuddle" and be petted. So, now I don't know if the skunk "bit the dirt" or he just sprayed both of my male dogs in the face (Boo smells bad all over) and scurried away! I went into the chicken area and rattled the tarp on the wood pile. Cautiously peeked into the wood pile and in the chicken house and in the spare tire the chickens love to lay their eggs in. Nothing, as yet.

Boo does not seem very concerned that he reeks, he is out laying on the deck in the sun or in the temporary housing I built by our home in the front area. Since his kennel and house were buried with snow, I built him a temporary quarters with sheep panels, tarps, tie downs, and fresh straw. I tried to drag him into the front porch -- no way would he even put his nose in. Then, I worried he would not go into my new construction. However, he loves it! And relaxes in there during the day and whenever he wants to take a nap. He found it on his own after I built it. I do love Boo! He is a very smart dog.

Each day we see more and more of the ground. The snow is crusted and there is slop below.

I had better close this, there is always something to do -- I have orders to fill and my bread is about done rising and needs to be popped into the oven.

...sunny days to everyone!...happy may!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I Saw the SKUNK!

...Okay, I have now visually confirmed there is a skunk in the chicken coup (quonset)! I was in the quonset (40' x 100') checking for eggs -- 'cause the girls (hens) lay eggs here and there trying to hide them from me! Anyway, I was pulling the tarp up and over the stack of lumber in the quonset so the chickens would not have poop all over them. The rattling of the tarp must have scared the skunk...it ran out right in front of me! YIKES! It is a big skunk as skunks go...not a little baby skunk...but a very BIG skunk.

I don't know who was startled the most, me or the skunk. It scurried off...and I scurried off -- I do not want to be sprayed by a skunk!

We have this rather tough black cat, he does not like "strangers" in his territory. He is all black except for his white boots, white spot on his chest! He was the one that smelled of skunk, I would imagine that he let the skunk know that he was in his territory! He is not a very big cat either, but Tough!

We have four cats that are all neutured male cats -- the black cat, and 3 orange males. We also have one female cat, Yowler. For some reason, I have not named the cats (except for Yowler). In the past when I named my favorite cats, it seemed something happened to them. However, they have been with us, outside, for some more than 10 years. They are well-fed and live in the quonset or the barn. They also "live" on my back deck. They have little beds out there and a bench they love to sun themselves on. And, of course, they like to be close to me and the back door. Treats come out that back door. They also hunt for mice in the haystacks.

It is rather humorous when I go for a walk-about there is this string of cats with their tails high in the air following me, along with my dogs.

We have one little kitten that lives with Boo-Boo in his kennel area. Boo pretends he is tough with the kitten, by barking at it. But the truth is the kitten sleeps with him and enjoys his food and beverages! Boo-Boo is an Anatolian Shepherd that is mentioned many times in my posts. He is my puppy/dog. He is a year old and getting bigger. Boo does not like Yowler, her name tells it all. She is very snarly with Boo and therefore Boo does not like her. Actually, Yowler is snarly with most every animal.

Yowler is quite old, we have never been able to get her to a vet to be spayed -- therefore she does have kittens which we find homes for on other ranches. Yowler is a very good mouser. She was so disruptive to all the other cats that we found other homes for her in the past. However, Yowler, always comes home. She traveled from the first placement approximately 20 miles; the second placement was probably 40 as the crow flys. Well, when she came home the last time, I knew we just had to put up with her outbursts. I will hold her and pet her and she is so very happy -- but, beware, if something disturbs her -- she becomes a fighting machine...and I may be in the way of the flying claws! Her yowl when she is mad is something else, it un-nerves a person -- therefore her name, Yowler!

We have one of her brothers and he is independent by certainly does not have a temperment such as she does. Two of the other cats are her kittens from many years ago.

I am very allergic to cat hair when inside. For some reason, as long as I do not touch my tear ducts or get any of their hair close to my face, I can be with them outside. But, if I go visit someones home and they have a cat living in there -- my lungs go crazy, my eyes itch like crazy, my face gets red...well, it is not a pretty sight nor can I breath very well. So no cats reside in my home.

It was a cold night so everything froze and there was frost on the vehicles. I think this is good because the snow will not all melt at once and cause too much water flowing at one time. There are frozen puddles outside and it is 10:30 a.m. here by the mountains.

....well, I better end this and get on to my chores..........enjoy your day!