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29 December, 2010

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning

If the old adage has any validity, we, Montanan's are about to get a blast. Five days in a row, starting with December 24th we had red sky's in the morning. We wished you a Merry Christmas with the image we captured on the 25th and the morning sky continued like this through the 28th. The snow is supposed to start later today, the 29th.
So, what are the animals doing? Up to now the weather has been mild for those who live outdoors. They have enough fur and wool to survive many degree's below zero, therefore our recent weather has been enjoyed by all. We did have a visitor on our deck recently. This is not a pet, this is a wild animal. Perhaps it came to the deck to test the alternatives if there was any truth to the "red sky in morning". We didn't put it there, it must have jumped up by itself and stayed there for several hours.
Traveling on the roads around Fishtail was another scene. There has been an abundance of deer carcasses on the side of the road. One can only assume that a visitor over the holidays was zooming down the road to celebrate with friends or family and accidently hit the critter as it was crossing the road. But it was not just one critter, within a 8 mile loop I have spotted at least a half dozen. I got a call on the 27th by one of the gals who helps with chores that she passed 4 bald eagles, feasting on a deer carcass about 2 miles from our place. She was suggesting that I head there with my camera for some photography. When I arrived there was only one remaining and it must have had a belly full as it was perched in a nearby tree and the crows, ravens, and magpis were getting their turn.
I gradually got closer to the eagle, not wanting it to take off, and to capture a few different poses with my camera. I'd take a few photo's, drive closer, take some more photo's until I was almost directly under the tree where it was perched. Can you tell by the look it it's head that there was something on the ground (me) causing a disturbance for the wildlife. I thought I was doing well and wanted to stay around to see if any of the others might return. WRONG, Look what happened next, and guess who was ready with his camera for the action.
and yesterday, as I left Fishtail to return home, I spotted 2 bald eagles in a tree, just as I turned onto the Grove Creek Road. I stopped and took a couple pictures, but the one's I took the day before were much better. I then became curious, was there another carcass along the road and these guys had there belly full already. Within a couple thousand feet, I saw what was happening. It was either a golden or a young bald (they don't get the white until they are 3 or 4 years old) enjoying dinner and sharing it with some crows and magpis. The next picture is of the eagle as I had gotten too close and it flew to a nearby fencepost. The the real truth was lying on the ground. It was not a deer, it was a skunk. This is what an eagle looks like after chowing down on a skunk and I'd guess the 2 bald eagles I saw nearby had decided to wait for a better meal.
There is plenty of hay in the corrals for the cattle, sheep, and horses. If we get the snow with the cold that has been predicted, everyone is ready.
Marty & Clint

10 December, 2010

Seasons Greetings from the Circle B Bar T

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year

Marty, Clint and the Circle B Bar T Gang

2010 was Marty's Year

2010 was a special year, when you consider the events that have occurred.

During the last 12 months, there have been at least 6 trips to Yellowstone National Park. On one occassion, Clint took a wrong turn in Mammoth Hot Springs as it was early morning, time for a potty call, and another cup of coffee. When we realized we were not where we wanted to be, we were amazed at the number of people on this side street. The occassion was a mama elk that had just given birth. (go to the June 10th posting for a picture). Clint took his first picture of an osprey and her family in June but didn't get the picture he wanted until 2 trips later.

Marty got to meet the members of the 1960 Ohio State University Livestock Judging Team, their coach, and most of their wives, as they celebrated their 50th anniversary. (go to March 11th to see Clint and his pals 50 years ago).

The grandchildren were very active, including a visti to the Circle B Bar T that started with the first arrival on June 23 and the last departure on July 12th. Jack is now a freshman at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, Petey's hockey team was the conference champions, Crissy not only had a successful season on the softball team but has been drafted by one of the premier girl's softball teams in Connecticut for 2011. Mr. Buckeye, Patrick, was a lineman on the Wreckers football team and was dressed as Brutus for the Halloween Trick or Treats. Curtis and Grace are swimmers with lots of winning ribbons; John is the youngest and celebrated his first birthday in July. Shy Vi is always into something and lost most of her locks this fall.

Another celebration started the first week of May, when the Fremont, Ohio ladies visited Paws Up, a ranch type resort in Western Montana to brag about reaching 60 years of age. We couldn't have packed more into the 5 days we were there. Debby Wenger and Tina Hablitzel were the other 2 celebrants. Husbands, George and Mark, made the trip across the US as well as Clint who escorted Marty from Fishtail.

Marty's birthday, the Big Six O, was September 14 and just 16 days later, she officially retired from her law practice with the law firm of Bricker & Eckler and remains to run the health care consulting company, QMCG, which she formed in 1994.

It wasn't all happiness, as Sammy, the favorite horse for the last 10 years went to horse heaven in June to join her father, Al Dude. The entire family celebrated her passing at the grave site during their visit. (go to July 28th for more about Sammy and the family picture).

In September, Barlo joined Chelsea, Levi, and Hannah. His last 18 months with us featured regular chiropractic sessions with Dr. Sarah and the purchase of a couch which made it much easier for him to lay down to rest. (Barlo's memories were posted on October 26th).

Mourning Barlo's passing, Kenya jumped out of the Suburban to injure her front leg, soon diagnosed as cancer. She is now the happiest 3 legged dog and currently going thru chemo therapy to prolong her life. Jumping into the back of a Chevy Suburban had it's challenges, so Kenya1, the license plate on a 1999 Subaru Legacy, is where Kenya has found it as easy to get into a car as a couch was for Barlo to lay down. The arrival of Emma and Baxter was none too soon to put joy back in Marty's life. They are Great Dane puppies, sister and brother, and have helped us to see the brighter side of life and added a new dimension for Kenya as well. They have almost tripled in size since their arrival just 2 months ago and are at the gate to welcome visitors.(see October 11th for when they were small)


28 November, 2010

4th Worst Snow in history

The headlines in this week's Stillwater County News was the snow that started 10 days ago was the 4th Worst Snow Storm in history. For 3 days the weather got progressively colder and the winds got stronger. The net results were traffic accidents for those on the roads, drifting snow on our roads and driveways, and a low temperature of minus 18 degrees. But those of us who live here, we love it. But first, you will have to see this most unbelievable photograph.
As many of you know, Kenya our female Great Dane, lost one of her front legs to cancer in October. She has now had her second round of chemotherapy and her recuperation is amazing. This photograph tells it all. Snow covered ground, extremely cold, slippery underneath, and who looks like they are having a great time running from the puppies. NOW . . . . look carefully, how many feet are on the ground? . . . . how many feet are in the air ?. . . . and the total is three.
and now look at this photograph, wouldn't you like to look out your window and see this view - the Beartooth Mountains - 12,000 feet elevation and they measured snow up there in the feet.
We started taking hay to the pasture the day the snow covered the ground and we are still hauling hay to them twice a day. What is hard to explain is they eat some hay and then drift out in the pasture to get what's been covered by snow and doesn't look like a great meal to us.

and Doc went to a place in the pasture where the snow was quite deep and he decided that he would paw the snow away and then eat what was buried by the snow. Look carefully and you'll see that I captured his front foot removing the snow.

What happened to the turkey's in the trees? They are still here, obviously this guy and at least 14 of his pals did not make the dinner table. They have had to scavage in the snow and are recycling the hay that the horses have deposited. They were so brazen today that they went through the fence and were in a paddock with 2 of our mares, enjoying the treats.

and hunting season ended at sunset today. Needless to say, if you were a hunter and had not filled your limit before the snow started, you had to be dedicated and on a mission to fill your 2010 quota. These deer avoided the last week of the season rush and I would guess they were bragging to each other that they were not sighted. Someone else might say, we didn't see any bucks in the photograph.

How about your dogs? What did they think of the snow? The 2 puppies, Emma and Baxter, were not to fond of the deep snow and the cold weather. They found their way to the barn or had to be thrown out of the house as they were not fond of Montana until it started to warm up, mid-20's and 30's. They are shown here as they were waiting at the barn for someone to open the door so they could go inside.

We had a great Thanksgiving with our neighbors, who had to hike to our place for dinner as the driveways had not been plowed. The temperature yesterday was in the 40's but more snow is arriving as I finish posting this update.


21 November, 2010

Cold Turkey

How times change. The first weekend of October, 2008 we experienced 42 inches of snow at the Circle B Bar T. The same weekend in October, 2009 we had 24 inches of snow. This year, 2010, the same weekend in October the temperature was 83 degrees. This fall has been especially mild, the leaves on the trees was not hampered by the weather, and they were beautiful. It changed on November 18th. It got cold, the snow started arriving, and the expression of "cold turkey" took a new meaning the morning of November 20th. This is a picture of the trees along the Grove Creek. The dark images at the top of the trees is the flock of turkeys you saw in our last post on this blog. This time, it was too cold to be on the ground, so they flew to the top of these 40 and 50' tall trees. This is "cold turkey".
After taking this photograph, I decided to drive around the Fishtail - Absarokee area and observe was else was happening. As I said already, it had been a great fall, the livestock had not been feed hay as the pastures were still very attractive to both the ranch livestock as well as the deer. On this day, with over 8 inches of snow on the ground, and still falling, I fed our horses hay for the first time this fall.
They weren't the only animals that needed to find something to eat. As I drove the 20 mile circumference, I expected to see lots of deer in the fields. I must have been too cold for them as well. I would normally expect to see at least 200 deer on this trip, but this day there were only a few, and the ones I saw had found something to eat, as this one had.
Most of the ranchers had been out feeding their livestock, prior to me venturing around south Stillwater County. However, this herd had not been blessed with hay and as you can see they were roaming through the pasture looking for something to eat.
But these sheep, covered with snow, if you look carefully, were fillng their stomachs with hay that had been harvested this past summer.
and finally, there were adventuresome animals like these who didn't wait for the rancher to bring them hay, they sought it out on their own. Whether it was the smell of the nearby bales or this bale just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and they went no further. They might say they were luckier that cattle you observed looking for hay, certainly they got their bellies full.
If you made this same trip today, there was hay in every field and every animal in our area was feasting on some good hay as the temperature had tumbled to minus 10 degrees last night. The weather forecast indicates it will not get warmed until Thanksgiving. In the meantime, there is more than enough excellent hay for our livestock to make the transition to winter.

12 November, 2010

Individuals in Montana, not the way you expect it. . .

For the last several weeks as we have driven down the Grove Creek Road toward Fishtail, I have noticed a calf in the same pasture as the neighbors sheep. Each time I passed, my curiosity caused me to look for the mother cow, which I never saw. Yesterday, I asked the nieghbors if they knew there was a calf in with the sheep, and if they did, where was it's mother. What I was told, is not what I expected. This was a "bum" calf, it had no mother. In addition to bottle feeding the calf, they decided to put it in with the sheep. They were hoping it would bond with the sheep and ultimately be the protector of the sheep, very similar to the role of a llama. The picture shows the competitors, the llama and the calf.
Come spring we will have to return to the pasture and check out the role of the calf as well as it's relationship with the llama. Sort of strange seeing a calf with no other cattle in a pasture with several hundred head of sheep and a llama.
As I have been working around the barn for the last several weeks, I have noticed a little bunny. Yes, it is quite small and very young. As I watched and observed it's actions, I believe it has found a home under the hay that we are storing for the horses. Recently, it has started to pose for me, I couldn't wait any longer, ran to the house and got my camera and zoom lens, not knowing how close it would allow me to get. This is hunting season, but this critter is too small for the hunter, but it is staying close to the barn to hide from something. and what would you expect to see in another one of the pastures as you drive toward Absarokee. You are probably guessing, sheep or cattle, wildlife could be deer, or perhaps some horses. Wrong. There is a pasture that has been full of sheep, every year for the last 19 years. There are no sheep in it today. This is one of 3 small burrows that is in control of the acreage. No signs of sheep. This guy and his buddies are about the size of the calf and definitely smaller than the llama.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away. I'm sure that you are already thinking about where you'll be enjoying the feast and what you'll be eating. Just as we are about to prepare for the big occassion, guess what reappears on the Circle B Bar T ranch? Answer, the turkeys. The flock is not as large in numbers as last year. I counted 15 in total, but they look very healthy. For those of you who like dark meat, no white meat, not even the breast, you should come to Stillwater County and take one of these beauties home for Thanksgiving. If you prefer white meat, ie: the breast, then continue your plan to purchase or grow locally.

09 November, 2010

An update from Marty & Clint

The winner of the Halloween costume award goes to Patrick McCarthy, our grandson who lives in Westport, CT. Patrick had just finished his football season in Westport and wanted to treat the neighbors with a Big Ten look. Go Bucks
When the family was here this summer, cousin Kate from Georgia fell in love with Johnny, one of our horses. When it came time to return to the southland, Kate had convinced Marty and as well as Kate's parents, that Johnny would look good at their stables. Kate and her father, Marque returned the weekend of November 5th for Kate to spend a few more days with Johnny. Looks like a great match up.
Just before Kate and her dad arrived, we observed the horses starring at the road. Was it Kate and her dad arriving to see Johnny? No, it was too early for them. Could it have been some type of critter? No, most of the critters are hiding as the Montana hunting season is now in full force. But it wasn't hunters either.
It was a neighbor taking their sheep down the Grove Creek Rd, moving them from one pasture to another. Do you suppose our horses were jealous that they were not participating in the drive?
Remember the photograph of the owl that I took last winter while I was cutting wood for the fireplace. Well, it's time to get more wood and I was at the same place cutting logs for the winter ahead. Just as I did, January 5th to be specific, I looked over my shoulder as I was heading for the house with some wood, and guess who I saw. Of course I didn't have my camera, so quickly to the house, grabbed my camera and returned to the Grove Creek. It was still there, but after I compared these phot0's with the ones I took in January, I believe it was a different owl. I looks smaller and not was colorful as the prior owl. Go to the January 5, 2010 posting for a comparison.
Has winter settled in Montana yet? Well, the first weekend in October in 2008 we had 42 inches of snow, the same weekend in 2009 we have 24 inches of snow, and this same weekend in 2010 it was 83 degrees, obviously, no snow. If you go to the October 9, 2009 posting you will see pictures from these 2 weekends. So what was it like last weekend when Kate and Marque were here. The sun was shining and the temperatures were in the mid-70's on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It all changed yesterday. The weatherman predicted 12-18 inches of snow in the mountains, there would be no accumulation at our elevation as the ground was still warm. This picture confirms that the weatherman at least knew what he was forecasting. Our altitude of 4500 feet missed the snow, just one ridge away, the white stuff was accumulating and the mountains really got hit.
As most of you know by now, Emma and Baxter, 2 great dane puppies arrived about a month ago. By now they have settled in, take a morning walk to get the paper with Marty, Kenya, and I, are underfoot most of the time and can last 4 - 5 hours between bowel movements. They are gaining weight at the rate of almost a pound a day. Here they are. We got them winter blankets 3 weeks ago and they have almost outgrown them. Stay tuned for more adventures of Emma and Baxter.

26 October, 2010

We'll miss you Barlo

What's in a name? When our 4th Great Dane was named over 8 years ago, it was in honor of our local veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Barlau. In retrospect, it was a bonding of the 2 and for sure extended Barlo's life at least 1 1/2 or maybe even 2 years.
Physically, Barlo had a very large head and the weight on his neck and spine caused him a number of physical problems over the years. Early on, Sarah developed a brace that he wore to take pressure off his spine and back. In later years, the condition of his back was one of the worst ever reviewed by Colorado State University veterinarians.
Dr. Barlau to the rescue again. This time it was chiropractic in nature and after each session, Barlo was like a new dog. In addition, Dr. Sarah had selected medications to reduce the pain as well.
During his lifetime, there were events that people will remember as Barlo. If you were a lady guest and you sat in our living room, Barlo would find his way to your lap. His fanny in your lap and his front legs on the floor. If Marty would lie down on the couch, who do you think her partner was . . . . . .
of course it was the lap dog, Barlo. Another memorable event was the photograph taken of Barlo and Kenya on the couch and Marty's lap. How about when he was a pup and he went to the dishwasher for more food.
He loved to walk in the pastures and on several occasions he found what he considered a treasure. A bone from a deer carcass was in his mouth for several days.
The remains of this carcass he dragged from the Grove Creek and was not about to relinquish it to anyone.
Then there was the day he discovered a porcupine under a bush near the creek. This was his prize and in spite of the pain, he didn't give up until the porcupine was dead and he had acquired enough quills in his head and neck that it took 1 1/2 hours at the vet clinic removing the quills.
He wrestled with Clint in the yard until Marty made them quit because she feared someone would not think Barlo was just having fun. He protected the front gate and most people arriving would not proceed to the house until the "big boy" was under the control of Marty or Clint. He napped on the deck with his favorite cat, Ruthie, and posed for photographs with the guests.
Can you image the stories that are now being shared with Chelsea, Levi, and Hannah?
He will be missed. Friends, relatives, Kara - his friend at the United Bank of Absarokee, the UPS driver, neighbors, and of course his name sake, Dr. Sarah.

11 October, 2010

The latest arrivals at the Circle B Bar T

It was just 8 weeks ago that a Great Dane gave birth to a beautiful liter of brindle puppies in the state of Washington. Marty and Clint located their owner, Dawn Houston, and purchased not one but two of the new puppies. A young man named Baxter and a pretty female named Emma. After flying from Washington and then by auto from Billings, Baxter and Emma soon discovered the front lawn at the Circle B Bar T. They have already brought joy into Marty and Clint's life healing their broken hearts. They two will grow quickly as they are already over 20 pounds each. Unless you will be visiting soon, they may be full size by the time you come to visit.

The first morning on the ranch they were invited to the barn to help with morning chores. The horses walking down the aisle were more initimidated by the puppies than the puppies were of the horses, almost 50 times their size. The temperature was cool and the puppies soon discovered the tack room and the bed that Ruthie the cat typically occupies. The caption of this photo is, "there is no room for Ruthie"
Kenya has missed her pal for the last 6 years, Mr. Barlo. But it didn't take long for Baxter to invite himself to the space most often occupied by Barlo. Within a very short time, Baxter was snuggled up close to Kenya, filling the void left by Mr. B. As you may or may not know, Kenya had to have one of her front legs removed after a diagnosis of cancer and is recovering from the operation of less than a week ago. She has welcomed Baxter and Emma and has accepted them as part of the family. There will be more about Barlo and Kenya in postings to follow.

16 September, 2010

The Big Six O

Once in a lifetime, if we are fortunate, we reach the magnificent age of 60. The year 2010 was the 60th anniversary of the birth of Martha Post Baxter. The anticipation of the celebrations started as the we entered the year and may have been culminated on her birthday on September 14.

Marty and her two childhood friends, Debby Wenger and Tina Hablitzel, from a very early age back in Fremont, Ohio have had a great friendship and have spent many days together in the past 60 years. 2010 was no different, this time it was 5 days at a Montana Resort, Paws Up, where the 3 husbands were included in the festivities. This was in May and at that time, only Debby had celebrated her 60th. In addition to sharing the time and the stories of the past, there was river rafting, horse back riding, trail ride on 4 wheelers, visiting a ghost town, geo caching, and dining, 3 meals a day with some fantastic food and great wines, plus sharing gifts and memories. Marty, Debby, and Tina will never forget this special occasion and their 60th birthday celebration - shown here with their flashy glasses at diner one night.
Montana continued to be a focal point of celebration with the Teegardin clan arriving in June and the final departure was in July. At one time there were as many as 19 people sitting around the dinner table. One such gathering there was a "gluten free" chocolate cake served to the birthday girl. These were special moments for Marty as she got to share the horses and Montana with the next generation as well as a special 36 hours in Yellowstone National Park. A final tribute was give to the first foal at the Circle B Bar T by the assembled family which was another sad but great memory of Sammy the Bam Bam.
As September neared, so did the best wishes that arrived as cards and letters in the mail, e-mails from many, Facebook was inundated with communications, and there were phone calls from others. If you ever had any doubts as to the number of people who consider Marty as a friend, a colleague, or someone you want to congratulate on achieving this milestone, you should have monitored the activity in the various media mentioned. In addition there were suggestions in the notes as to what Clint's role should be: sing Happy Birthday to Marty, light a candle for her, blow out the candle, spend a lot of money on gifts, take her out to dinner, and much more.
Gifts arrived in the form of flowers, bottles of wine, a painting she had been admiring for several years and many more, too numerous to mention.

and then the Grand Finale, it was the evening of Marty's birthday, the sun had set and all of a sudden the sky became alive as if people from all over South Central Montana were lighting candles and blowing them out. You could see them from miles away and as each candle was extinguished, there was a loud boom. Marty said, "I'll bet Marse, my mother, who passed away on her 60th, is sending best wishes from heaven and wants to be sure I have a Grand Finale for this special day. And then, the biggest candle must have been lit just outside our yard in the outdoor riding arena. I'm sure you could have seen the light for miles away and then a boom that rocked our house. The morning of the 15th, I took this photograph of the candle, the power of it had split the fence post and knocked down the rails. Marse, we got the message, wish you were here.
The force of lighting of the candle as you can see, split the post. Marty has suggested we not repair the fence so that she will remember this special year and celebration each day as she rides one of the horses in the arena.

09 September, 2010

Look what we saw . . . . . . .

As we finish the summer season, we have spotted some interesting sites on the Circle B Bar T. Over the past few years we have had a huge penetration of grasshoppers as the summer temperatures arrive and the enviroment for the grasshopper optimizes. The next question is how do you get rid of grasshoppers. The best answer we have come up with is let mother nature take its course. The best way is for the cooler weather of the fall to arrive, perhaps even earlier than planned. That gets rid of them. Another way is shown in the next photograph. These healthy birds are feasting on grasshoppers. At the moment they are resting before their next penetration of our pastures.
At this time of the year, we have already harvested the hay and in fact after filling our barn with hay for the winter our neighbors were able to bale as much hay as we did for their own use. There is ample hay still in the pasture for the horses and the neighbors brought some of their sheep to graze on the pasture across the Grove Creek. In recent years, coyotes have visited their sheep in our pasture for a good lamb dinner. This year, they delivered a protector as you can see in this photograph. Mr. Larry the LLama is in charge of the sheep. He is their leader and their protector.
While it may be a long time before the signs of winter arrive at your home, we looked at the Beartooth Mountains the first day of September and guess what we saw. It was still warm at the 4500 feet elevation of the Circle B Bar T Ranch, but it was cool enough for the precipitation to take a different form in the mountains. In fact, there was enough of the white stuff that the Beartooth Pass, the road from Red Lodge to Cooke City was closed until the road crews could remove the snow.
Finally, the same view that we had, looking west from our home to see the birds, came later in the day. Marty came running into the house and announced a beautiful sunset. Not only was it beautiful but we were quite pleased to shout, "Red sky at nite, sailor's delight". This meant that we would enjoy another day in Montana, plenty of sunshine, a great view of the mountains, and fall would have to wait. What Marty didn't see was the deer who were passing across the ridge in full view of the sunset. What a great photograph.
Hope your sights have been as rewarding as ours.
See you in Montana