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October through December, 2007

Cold Smoke!

Although we are behind the average for snow this season, Bridger Bowl has a better base built up than the previous several years. We have already had several days of "cold smoke" skiing. One day we had 10" of powder and the slopes all to ourselves – apparently, the blue light failed to alert skiers in town that conditions were good.

Sunrise on Bridger Canyon Lodge

Our home is in the lower right quadrant; click on the picture for a close-up

In this report:  

• The Fire Department visits
• Bugling elk
• Open House
• Moose are loose!
• Burning slash
• Elk hunt
• Christmas is coming

The Bridger Canyon Women's Club provides dinner for the Volunteer Fire Department on the evening of their monthly fire fighter training. They usually have the dinner at the fire station, but for October we invited them to meet at our house before training. Many of them helped fight the fire that destroyed the original house. Appropriate to the occasion, one of the smoke detectors sounded an alarm several times at random intervals during dinner. We think there are insects crawling in and out of that detector. In fact, smoke detectors at the Carriage House had exhibited this behavior in years before and were doing it again, suggesting a relationship to the life cycle of an insect. Blowing out the offending devices with compressed air appears to have solved the problem (for now).

One of our visitors this quarter was Claudia, who posed with Pauline for the obligatory picture at Canary Hot Spring in Yellowstone Park. The spring has continued to take its toll on the walkway; for a pictorial record, see here. We were treated to the sight and sound of a bull elk bugling to chase off a smaller bull coveting his harem. We were positioned behind the car door in case he saw us as a threat!

Claudia stayed long enough to help us host an open house for people who had worked on our home. About 50 people showed up over the course of the day. The workmen don't often get to see the results of their labors once a home is occupied, so they appreciated the chance to see how things turned out and to have spouses and children see what they have been working on.

A moose cow and calf have been hanging around; they bedded down just below the Carriage House one mid-November night. Caretaker Jennie spotted them when she started to walk down the drive for the morning paper. Dan called to let us know, so we crept down from the Main House. The snow was very crunchy and alerted the mom, who stood up to look for a threat. We took a quick picture and retreated to view them from the Carriage House.

Fall is a good time to burn slash. This Fall, we managed to burn two of the smaller piles. Snow made the burns safer, but more difficult to get started. Piling cardboard boxes on helped melt the snow. Burns are easier now with caretakers Dan and Jennie to alternate shifts with us watching for problems. One of these small piles smoldered for over 5 weeks, so we are not looking forward to burning the three remaining large piles.

The Bridger Canyon elk herd needs thinning, so when we saw a portion of the herd hanging out on our property, we called one of the carpenters who was interested in getting some meat. After stalking them around the property for several hours, he managed to get a safe shot not far from the Main House. Of course, we get some of the cuts and Pauline is looking forward to trying out elk recipes.

Now that snow is flying, Gary can realize a major benefit of the Main House: a heated garage with a 10' wide door and deep enough for the truck to park inside with the plow. This means he does not have to spend 20 minutes out in the cold cleaning snow off the truck and dealing with doors that have frozen shut, followed by working with hands on cold controls until the truck warms up. Getting the truck into the garage takes careful navigation; with the rear bumper firmly against the back wall, there is less than 2" clearance for the door to close.

Getting a large Christmas tree is not a problem. When you have 100 acres of Christmas trees out your front door, it's easy to find one, cut it, carry it home, set it up and decorate it. Unless you get overly ambitious and cut too large a tree. This tree started at about 16' before we cut it down to 11' so the two of us could manage to get it through the front door and stand it up. It was still too big for our little stand so we had to run to town for a larger one. Fortunately we have a 10' ladder to help with decorating.

It always seems that the elk hide whenever we have guests. This time, the morning after Marcus and Samantha arrived we woke up to find a large portion of the herd bedded down just south of the house. Apparently they have forgotten the unfortunate incident at the end of November. Four young bulls got together just outside the Master Bedroom window to practice for the next mating season.

Coyotes have been spending a lot of time around lately, and we were recently told a wolf pack is wandering nearby. At an end of year party, a neighbor to the north of us said that three mountain lions had been hanging around the night before. When FWP agents showed up, the lions escaped to the south down Place Creek – so they probably came right through our property and by the Carriage House. All these are good reasons why we keep the dogs inside from sunset to sunrise.


Radon at the Main House
The problem and how we are dealing with it.

A Room With a View
Winter means too much sun!

The Gun Wall Display
Finally, some details about all those guns...

Bridger Canyon Lodge LLC
Now that we have employees, we need a corporation.

Main House Progress
Check out the downstairs areas!

Parting Shot

30 November 2007

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