I thought I would share the sights we saw when we went into town yesterday to pick up a few supplies for the coming cold snap.
There is something special about the colors of the West in the transistion of season.
The immaure bald eagle again, same spot!
And on the way back we finally got our bald eagle wish! Two balds were sitting by a kill — a dead antelope — and I only was able to get ready for the photo as one of them took flight.
They are truly magnificent looking birds, so BIG.
So majestic against a backdrop of snow covered mountains. If you are thinking we have a boring 45-minute drive into town you'd be wrong. I've given up taking photos of all the antelope. Right now they are all herded up and as plentiful as cows.
The shape of trees has been used as a way to assess weather conditions for many years. Ever heard of the Griggs-Putnam Index of Deformity? It is often used by people in the wind energy industry to assess dominate wind direction and average speeds.
You can read more about using trees as a local climate indicator in this technical paper that summarizes the practice.
Here are a few photos of trees on our property. They show a dominant wind direction from the southwest with average speeds in the 9 to 13 mph range. Of course, we do get much higher wind speeds here, ranging up to or over 100 mph during a "wind event". The last photo is a bit of an anomaly.
As I write this it is 10° outside and the wind is blowing snow sideways. Winter weather has arrived.
October spoiled us with unusually warm and dry weather. Early November was nice too, but mid-month Mother Nature did a 180 and brought frigid weather and frequent snow. So far, the snow fall has been light. Just a few inches each time. But, it has given us a chance to actually benefit from the summer's hard work. I've even cleared the driveway with the snow blower a couple of times, but think a blade on the Ranger would work better for small snow amounts.
The completed and somewhat filled wood shed.
We finished a few of our projects. I built a rack to hold the canoes and keep them from blowing into the valley. The storage shed got fully insulated (and is heated by the propane fridge keeping it relatively toasty). And, we got the wood shed painted (and filled with wood). We also now have an electric circuit running to the barn. Now, I don't have to start up a generator every time I need electricity for a few minutes.
We did our provisioning shopping. There is a whole blog post on that topic. Other than meat, which we'll get sometime soon, we have plenty of supplies to rely upon if/when we get snowed in.
My first attempt at this post did not show the video. Here it is again.
The other day there was a huge herd of elk in our meadow. Most were behind the game camera we have set up to take video. But, three cow elk wandered into the middle of the meadow where we have a bale of hay for an early morning snack. The video camera caught them gnawing away. You can see the light on in the kitchen. You can even see me walk by the window early in the video. When I opened the curtains in our dining area, it spooked these elk and they ran. That spooked the entire herd and they all ran up to the road and along the road to the south. We wonder if this is the same herd with the "big boy"? (Photo at the bottom of this post.)
On the 28th of November, Lynne and I along with the three dogs took a walk to the pond and back. We needed the exercise, and it gave us a chance to "run the trap line" (of game cameras). Bella and Destin know the trail and like to lead. Hailey follows behind to take advantage of our trail-making in front of her.
Just past Serenity Point, I saw Destin lift his leg to pee on a tree! Lynne didn't see it and was a bit skeptical of my claim, I think.
Lifting the leg to pee is a real rite of passage for a male dog. I'm not sure of the exact reasons they do this, but I've always believed there were two reasons. First, as the dog grows and changes physiologically, he is more and more likely to pee on his front feet when using a squat pee. (When I try to pee while lifting my leg I end up peeing on my other foot, so this does not work for people.) The second, and probably more valid reason is so they can mark vertical surfaces with their pee thus marking their territory. (This does not work for me either.)
Destin failed to accomplish this second goal on his first attempt. The pee still ended up on the ground, but close enough to the target tree that it was clearly not a squat pee.
We document everything with the camera.
A day or two later, he lifted his leg to pee on the bale of hay we have in the meadow. Success! He hit a vertical surface. Lynne still did not see this and remained skeptical.
But, on a subsequent walk, she caught him in the act.
Destin, marking his territory.
This is a sign of a maturing dog and the onset of interest in the opposite sex. He is already bugging Hailey and Bella, but they let him know that the bitches run this house. We are likely in for a fun winter.