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28 November, 2015

5 Years Later

If you go to our post of 5 years ago, you will see what was said to be the 4th worst snow in history. It was cold also. Just a week ago, the weatherman was predicting snow and cold weather which was a significant change to the mild fall weather we had been experiencing. Time has past - - - we did get some cold weather, we woke up to sub zero temperatures several mornings, today it was -1. We were supposed to get close to a foot of snow - - the deepest I have been able to find it was 5 inches. The Beartooth Mountains are not covered with snow as they were in the photo I posted in 2010.

Today, we are expecting temperatures in the 30's. The sun has been shining and will continue to warm us up. The cold weather has stimulated some wildlife activity on the ranch. A coyote was here a couple days ago and was seen sparing with the neighbors sheep dog down by the Grove Creek. This is one of the deer that appeared in the field south of our house.

You can see there wasn't a lot of snow, but it was cold.

17 August, 2015

Pryor Wild Horse Range

In the past 4 years we discovered the Pryor Wild Horse Range and visited it on several occasions. The part that we visited was at a lower level, approximately 4000 feet elevation. We were aware of a larger section of the range but had been advised of the travel restrictions in reaching that portion which is over 8000 feet in elevation.

We discovered a photographer who had started taking people on trips to the upper part of the range and arranged to have her take us there in August of 2015. WHAT A TRIP.  The trip was conducted by Sandy Palen, one of nine she led in 2015. Our veterinarian friend from Philadelphia, Beth Urbaniak joined Marty and I on the 3 day, 2 night trip.

The total Wild Horse Range encompasses 38,000 acres and currently has 180 wild horses. This posting will share some of our experiences as well as some of the wild horses we saw and the terrain where we found them. I must say, the trip up to the mountain herd in Sandy’s truck was an experience of it’s own. The 10 mile journey from an elevation of 4000 feet to the top of the range, 8000 feet took around 2 hours and was one of the roughest rides Clint has ever experienced. It was beautiful and seeing the horses in this environment was outstanding.

This is a band of three of the wild horses, at the top of the mountain. Not only were the horses a vision of their own, but the landscape was just as great.

Obviously, the terrain at the top of the mountain, provided the nourishment for the horses, but their water came from lakes. Here you can see several of them accumulated around a lake enjoying the water.
Were there any foals? Yes, there were. This is one of the mares that we discovered with her young foal. In total, there were somewhere in the vicinity of 15 foals born in 2015.  We discovered several others as we traveled throughout the range.
There were stallions intermingled with the each band of horses. This is one that had just drifted away from the band he was with near the watering hole.

In total, Clint had over 300 photographs that he took during the 3 days. Marty and Beth sorted through them and now have an album of 75 of their favorites. These are just a few. In addition, as we returned to Lovell, Wyoming Marty and Beth each purchased a filed guide containing a photograph of each of the horses that also includes their name and band information.

A great trip. This blog includes 4 other trips at the lower level on 9/18/12, 5/29/13, 7/26/13, and 11/21/14 which you are welcome to visit to share our other trips.

28 July, 2015

Another year of hay at the Circle B Bar T

Hay is a necessary feed component however the amount that we reap each year is a function of the rainfall, the fertilizer, and the weather. 2015 was an interesting year. As we entered the spring we were not sure how much hay we would get. Two years ago we had to purchase hay, last year our fields yielded all the hay we needed, plus the neighbors had 25 head of cattle and calves on on ranch for 4 months, and they also took 100 round bales. 

So, what was 2015 like. We had a wet spring, plenty of sunshine, and it's now the end of July and we are just starting to get the hay off the fields. When can we bale the hay and get it in the barn. We were ready in late June, but it was the end of July before we thought we could get it in the barn without it getting wet from the rain. We kept trying to get help to line up help to get the bales in the barn. But each delay, started the process all over. Guess what happened. 

In the picture below, you see our favorite field for hay. This year the yield was 930 bales. Until we show you some more of the process, will you understand what really happened.

The guy collecting the hay is our son-in-law, Bob Houser from Columbus, Ohio. He was here for 10 days to enjoy Montana with his wife and 3 children. He knew in the past that our summer visitors had helped bale the hay, but that was not part of the plan for this year.

Our neighbor who has always baled our hay, decided to make the size of the bales in the range of 50 pounds. This meant that we didn't need muscle men or women to help get the hay on the trailer and into the hay barn. This meant that we could recruit other family members to help.

 How about Bob's daughter, Grace shown here taking a bale to the trailer.

 and there was Bob's wife, Jennifer shown here lugging a bale to the trailer, Grace was getting another bale near the front of the truck, and son John was taking water to the helpers. Marty Baxter, not shown in these pictures was also a helping hand in picking up and stacking the hay.

Based on this years experience, it will only be another year or so before we can have the entire Houser family in Montana to help with hay. Violet and John enjoyed another part of the ranch as they rode the horses on a daily basis along with sister Grace.

Thanks to the Housers for their help. Our horses will enjoy their contribution for the next 12 months as they chow down on the hay.

Hay making at the Circle B Bar T

Rainfall, fertilizer, and good weather determines the amount of hay we get off the fields at the Circle B Bar T. 2015 was a great year. The field along the Grove Creek Road typically yields around 700 bales of hay. This year we reaped 930 bales however the challenge was when will the weather be best for baling and who can we get to help. We started the debate as to when and who in late June but didn't put the last bale in the barn until July 25th.

07 February, 2015

February 2015, Another trip in Yellowstone National Park

The winter "get away" season has started at Chico Hot Springs and the second day of each trip is a day in Yellowstone. We woke up with a couple inches of new snow on the ground and were concerned about the travel in Yellowstone. No problem . . . . .

We had just left Gardiner on our way to Mammoth Hot Springs and then on to Lamar Valley and Cooke City when Marty said, did you see the Buffalo on that small island in the river. I said, no,
so she insisted that I turn around which I did. This is what we saw.

People who we have shown this photograph to have marveled at the image, one said, this looks more like a painting than a photograph. Imagine the buffalo crossing the cold water in the stream to reach this small island to graze. The snow from the night before is visible on the ground and in the vegetation.

We continued on the 50 mile trip to Cooke City, although we saw quite a few elk and lots of buffalo along the way, I didn't stop to take another picture until I saw this small gang coming toward us. I got out of the car and started taking photo's. Marty said, get behind the door of the car, that first guy looks dangerous. I said, he just wants to shake my hand.

We let them pass and on to Lamar Valley, hoping to see some wolves. As we got into the area below where we know they have dens, we spotted people with camera's and binoculars. The wolves must be coming down the mountain and perhaps crossing the road. Wrong, it wasn't wolves, in fact we didn't see any wolves at all on the trip. What we saw were a lot of bighorn sheep on the side of a steep hill. Out of the car with my camera, took a lot of photos, this was our favorite.

We made it to Cooke City. I was difficult to see anything but snow. There has been a lot of snow this winter and none of it has melted at an altitude of 7480 feet. There is a population of under 200 yet the city was filled with visiting snow mobiles. We turned around and headed back. As we approached the area where we had seen the bighorns, earlier,  there was huge crowd of photographers looking in the opposite direction of where the bighorn were. What were they looking at.

Yes, it was a large moose. I needed my best zoom lens to get this photo as it was quite a distance from the road, the snow was deep and it would have been dangerous to approach this guy.

Onward, and as we got back in the mountainous area we spotted this guy with a nice rack behind a tree. He had a buddy farther up the mountain also behind a tree.

This was a great several hours in the park. In addition to these images, the park was a beautiful winter scene. We'll be back in the middle of March for another "get away".