Going for a Dip…

Wood Ducks are one my favorites!  I was so excited when we spotted this guy…IMG_5808 IMG_5810 IMG_5811 IMG_5812 IMG_5816 IMG_5822 IMG_5823 IMG_5824

Cool Facts

  • Natural cavities for nesting are scarce, and the Wood Duck readily uses nest boxes provided for it. If nest boxes are placed too close together, many females lay eggs in the nests of other females.
  • The Wood Duck nests in trees near water, sometimes directly over water, but other times over a mile away. After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of over 50 feet without injury.
  • Wood Ducks pair up in January, and most birds arriving at the breeding grounds in the spring are already paired. The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.
  • For more information please visit here…

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Smokey Skies…

With fires surrounding us in NW Montana our days and nights are filled with smoke.  Smoke so thick you can’t see the mountains, hills or even neighbors houses at times.  The kids have been cooped up inside because of air quality alerts because of the smoke like the following…

  • Air Quality Alert

    Air Quality Alert in effect until Sunday, 12:00 PM MDT. Source: U.S. National Weather Service

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an Air
Quality Alert for Deer Lodge, Granite, Flathead, Lake, Lincoln,
Powell, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, Sanders, and Silver Bow in
effect *UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE*.

An Air Quality Alert means that particulates have been trending
upwards and that an exceedance of the 24 hour National Ambient Air
Quality Standard (NAAQS) has occurred or may occur in the near
future.

Particulate levels from local and regional wildfires are Unhealthy
to Very Unhealthy across all of western Montana.

When air quality levels are Very Unhealthy… the Montana
Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people
with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should
avoid any outdoor activity. Everyone else should avoid prolonged
exertion.

When air quality levels are Unhealthy… the Montana Department of
Health and Human Services recommends that people with respiratory or
heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged
exertion. Everyone else should limit prolonged exertion.

For more information… visit the Montana Department of Environmental
Quality at http://www.todaysair.mt.gov.

We all have soar throats, coughs, sneezing, headaches, etc from the smoke.  It’s been quite depressing and even claustrophobic in being in this blanket of smoke.  While we are not directly in the paths of fire ourselves, there have been several mandatory evacuations in some the towns in NW Montana due to the wildfires getting close to homes and towns.

I have always tried to find the beauty in each day and lately it seems to be hard to find as everything is dried up, dead and smoke filled… but it’s still there if you look for it…

Red sun…

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Red Moon…

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Pray for rain and the safety of our wildland firefighters (my brother is one!)

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Skywatch Friday

Weekly Top Shot #173

Turquoise…

Anyone who has been around me for very long could probably figure out that one of my favorite all time colors is turquoise!  It just makes feel happy.  :)  Maybe it quite coincidental or perhaps it’s from natural influences…

At Grinnell Glacier…IMG_1136

Glacial rivers…

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St. Mary’s Falls in Glacier National Park…

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Looking down on Grinnell Lake…IMG_1008

Another view with the sun hitting it…IMG_1051

The view of Josephine Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, and Lake Sherburne…IMG_1112

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Our wedding bands in Cancun…P1100314

Glorious beaches and turquoise water…P1100711

Mayian Ruins and the turquoise ocean…P1000376

An old dock going out to the ocean…P1100140

Sunrise on a Californian beach…11021435_788173817886293_2494865661392577813_o

Canadian Rockies and a glacial river…

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Moraine Lake…

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Glacial Ice

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Lake Louise…

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Hmmm…I’m awfully glad that world is filled with such vibrant color!

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Friendship Friday

Water World Wednesday

Yellow-rumped Warbler

WE had the pleasure of being by Fishercap Lake waiting for moose to come out when this handsome guy starting flying around.  I wasn’t sure what he was up to until I took the following pictures of him feeding a spider to… I am not sure if it’s a fledgling or a female or ?? But he was pretty entertaining watching him flutter about and pick spiders out of their webs in the trees…

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Cool Facts

  • The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to winter farther north than other warblers, sometimes as far north as Newfoundland.
  • Male Yellow-rumped Warblers tend to forage higher in trees than females do.
  • Yellow-rumped Warblers are perhaps the most versatile foragers of all warblers. They’re the warbler you’re most likely to see fluttering out from a tree to catch a flying insect, and they’re also quick to switch over to eating berries in fall. Other places Yellow-rumped Warblers have been spotted foraging include picking at insects on washed-up seaweed at the beach, skimming insects from the surface of rivers and the ocean, picking them out of spiderwebs, and grabbing them off piles of manure.
  • When Yellow-rumped Warblers find themselves foraging with other warbler species, they typically let Palm, Magnolia and Black-throated Green warblers do as they wish, but they assert themselves over Pine and Blackburnian warblers.
  • The oldest known Yellow-rumped Warbler of the myrtle race was 8 years 9 months old. The oldest known individual of the “Audubon’s” race was 10 years old.

For more information please visit HERE

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The Boys and Their Lambs…

It’s always a busy time of the year when the kids pick out their fair lambs in April.  The next 4 1/2 months are busy spent training, walking, washing, shearing, their lambs.  This year they went to a 3 day camp in Bozeman to learn more about showmanship, lamb care, shearing with a jackpot on the last day.    IMG_9114 IMG_8894 IMG_8846 IMG_8834 IMG_8828 IMG_8824 IMG_8816-2 IMG_8743 IMG_3727

Kids walking their lambs…IMG_3676

Garrett shearing his own lamb…IMG_3655

Garrett helping some kids with showmanship…IMG_3732

Getting ready for fair…IMG_3731 IMG_3728

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Thank goodness for grandmas who will stop and feed the starving kids on her way home from work.  The first couple days of fair are extremely busy and we generally eat really late but grammy had pity on us and fed us.IMG_3736

Practicing with his lamb…IMG_3735

Then show day!

Waiting for his turn to show…IMG_3808

This year at fair they worked very hard and Garrett and Hayden ended up being in the final round for showmanshipIMG_3805 IMG_3790

Even, Teigen did very well in showmanship for his first year.IMG_3785 IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3777 IMG_3771

Waiting for the “market” portion of fair.IMG_3767 IMG_3764 IMG_3746 IMG_3742 IMG_3739

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Hayden even won a purple ribbon in market placing in the top 8 out of 60 lambs for market.  :)IMG_3820 IMG_3771 IMG_3764 IMG_3750 IMG_3741

Then comes the last day of fair, the last day of the project.  They have sold their lambs to local businesses and they have to load their lambs up on the trailer that is headed to the processor.  There are generally lots of tears and sadness but the kids understand where their food comes from and have a deeper appreciation because of it.  Something that is lacking in todays culture..

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Immature Bald Eagle…

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Cool Facts

  • Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy. See an example here.
  • Had Benjamin Franklin prevailed, the U.S. emblem might have been the Wild Turkey. In 1784, Franklin disparaged the national bird’s thieving tendencies and its vulnerability to harassment by small birds. “For my own part,” he wrote, “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. … Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District.”
  • Sometimes even the national bird has to cut loose. Bald Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys. One observer witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair.
  • The largest Bald Eagle nest on record, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall. Another famous nest—in Vermilion, Ohio—was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.
  • Immature Bald Eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day. Some young birds from Florida have wandered north as far as Michigan, and birds from California have reached Alaska.
  • Bald Eagles can live a long time, with a longevity record of 28 years in the wild and 36 years in captivity.
  • Bald Eagles occasionally hunt cooperatively, with one individual flushing prey towards another.
  • For more info please visit here…

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Stormy, Starry Night…

Here are some pictures I took at the beginning of July while a big thunder cloud rolled over the farm in the middle of the night…IMG_2226

The National Weather Service contacted me and asked if they could use the above photo in a safety video!  IMG_2260

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The Billings Gazette even used one…IMG_4712IMG_2272-2

The producer of NBC news even contacted me about using them!  Pretty neat, if you ask me.  :)

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Skywatch Friday

Weekly Top Shot #173