Here Comes the Next Season

Today we were under a red flag warning.    What that means is that conditions are right that a wildland fire if started could go wild and easily grow.   Today the air is super dry, my phone says the humidity is 13% and the winds are blowing a steady 21 mph in town.   The temperature here at the house is 84 degrees in the shade and the winds here are surely as strong as they are in town.   Yes I am from the Midwest and know that 84 isn’t hot at all, but at our place in Montana it is darn hot.

We are starting to enter fire season around here.   The Red Flag warning is a sign of the coming of the end of summer.    Our grasses are all cured and getting drier by the day.   The hottest days of the year should be just around the corner.   I can’t remember the last time we had any moisture, but we have dry lightening at least a couple times a week. That is how many of the local wildland fires start.    RangerSir had spent the last week trimming down grasses around the house and outbuildings because it is the time of the year you do that type of thing if you live here.   We had a large grass fire between our house and town last week.   If something gets started out here it should burn hot and fast through our property, but we should be ok.   There is always the factor of what are the odds of should really means.   So you do all that you can do to improve your odds.

I went out today to try and photograph rooster boy thinking I would get some good photos and would blog about the chickens.   The weather was not cooperating. He is a handsome blue rooster, instead here with the wind at his back  he looks like he is having a terrible hair day.   Oh well what is a little wind now that we are in fire season.

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Hotter than Blue Blazes

Last week Lake county Montana was setting new records with heat.   Most days were in the 90’s but when I got in my truck after my last survey on Tuesday afternoon and my truck set a new high temp for the day.

That is 111 hot degrees

That is 111 hot degrees

It was probably not that warm we all know how vehicles heat up, but the bank thermometer at 7pm still said 100 so it was definitely a scorcher. Let’s hope this week the forecast for the high 70’s is right.

Spring in Montana

Oh this week has been a classic spring week in Montana.   We have had unseasonably warm days and now we have had snow and ice.

Taken Tuesday.   Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Taken Tuesday. Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Tuesday was absolutely a beautiful Montana spring day.    Friday we had rain all day and I could see the snow line slowly creep down as the day passed.   By dinner we were above the snow line.   Saturday we woke with overcast and by late afternoon we were back in the snow belt.   Sunday It was winter again no holes barred.

By Friday we had rain and then snow.   This was taken Saturday on my walk.

By Friday we had rain and then snow. This was taken Sunday on my walk.

In Spite of It All Life Goes On

This weekend here is suppose to be nasty. You can read between the lines for that to mean rain, snow, wind and temps in the 30’s.   Yesterday I curled up and stayed in all day when Mother Nature dealt me a crummy hand.      Today I when I woke up to snow/rain I  said “UP YOURS” and went on about life.     This morning I did my first 5k of the season.

This one was a special one as it was a charity walk for the local shelter’s animal fund.   Albert’s Angel Fund is a local charity  that helps pay for medical expenses for adoptable animals that the local shelter might not otherwise afford.   I love the idea of the partnership of the shelter and the AAF.    Years ago our rescue dogs, Max and Charlie, used to get pledges and annually complete the Walk for the Animals, a fundraiser for the shelter they came from in Minnesota.   Today’s  walk  was a natural fit for me.

If it had been nice weather there would have been no question about participation, but with the rain/snow mix, the wind and the thermometer screaming 34 degrees I was not sure what the turn out would be like.   Heck I was not even sure if RangerSir would participate or not.  We got ourselves ready and out the door before we could change our minds.  The field was full of hardy souls dressed for spring in Montana, the rest of you may call it winter clothing.   There were folks of all sizes and ages, just the dogs were.   Probably the most interesting dog we saw was a Komondor, which I had never seen in person before.    There were also Corgie, Dachshund. Bloodhounds, Yorkies, a 3-legged Pomeranian, Giant Schnauzer, and any thing else you can imagine in between.  The family who parked next to us captured the essence of the field.   They had a little teeny tiny dog of Chihuahua  origin, a large elderly dog of Golden origin, a very young infant in a stroller, a short small mom, and a very tall dad.  See them unload from their rig  and make their family race ready made me glad I had not been a wienie and stayed home.

We finished our first 5K in 55 minutes.  Love that snow in the background

We finished our first 5K in 55 minutes. Love that snow in the background

Here are a couple more pictures taken during the race.     This was the 5th year for the race.   In the first four years of the race it has raised over $13,000 for Albert’s Angel Fund.   Not sure if the turn out will allow us to stay on target, but every bit helps and the race helps to raise awareness.   It was fun to watch the faces of folks in cars to see a mass dog walk.

Look at the puff winter coat.   The rain/snow made focusing a little difficult.

Look at the puff winter coat.

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We walked in a wide right-of-way.

Now as I sit here blogging at home four hours later we are getting the snow that they predicted and yes they might be right it could accumulate an inch before it is done.   Sure am glad the walk is over, but glad I was part of it.

Looking off our deck to our shed and chicken coop.   The snow is coming down.

Looking off our deck to our shed and chicken coop. The snow is coming down.

 

Fire Season Has Started with a Bang

Looking over the Madison River at the Bear Trap 2 fire.

There are lots of wildfires aka forest fires across the US right now.   Historically Montana should not get be in fire season yet.   Our normal fire season starts in late July  after the grasses have cured and the spring rains have stopped.   This year spring rains never developed, we had early hot spells and everything dried out way too soon.  Just last week we were slammed into fire season.  We had been hot,dry and windy,  and in just a few days we had six fires break out.   These fires broke out during a weather system where the winds were blowing sustained speeds of  30-40 mph, with gusts as high as 75 mph.   These fires went from zero to thousands of acres in hours.   I can’t imagine a a fire that moves that fast.    My heart breaks for all those folks who lived in those areas, who had to leave their homes; many not yet knowing if there is anything to go back to.  Thanks  to firefighters, first-responders, and others  who are doing the best they can to fight these fires with resources that are spread thin by the number of fires we have right now and shrinking budgets on county, state and federal levels.  A heaping sense of gratitude to those families who support all those out there on the front lines and the support positions; we appreciate you sharing your special person with us and missing birthdays, games and other family functions to help strangers they may never know.

I hope this early summer is followed by an early fall.  If it wants to start tomorrow that is ok with me. Unfortunately tonight we had storms with very little moisture, lots of lightning, and they are calling for hot weather again.