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April through June, 2008

Waiting for the Sun

This quarter brings an upgrade to our web site technology. If these pages appear 'broken' in any way, please see the bottom of this page.

April 2 – Still Winter on the North Side

Refraction of light from the rising sun off the camera lens adds to the surreal nature of this shot. At the beginning of April, the morning sun starts to shine on the North side of the house. This picture gives an idea of the extent of snow and ice looking East from the Entry on April 2. But it is Spring on the South Patio; Pumpkin and Neko enjoy sunning themselves there on days like this. The Parting Shot shows what the North side looks like in June.

The good news is that Bridger Bowl extended its season by a week. It snowed almost every day that week, so the skiing was good.

The Exercise Room is now the "Yoga Room." Monday and Thursday mornings canyon women get together here with a Yoga instructor for an hour of exercise. This April 24 morning was a bit snowy; only 3 plus the instructor showed up.

In spite of mid-April snow and temperatures down to 12°F, wild flowers are making an appearance and our woodpecker friend has started his annual quest for a mate.

Pumpkin has given up herding these elk, or she has them where she wants them. We recently saw her chasing a coyote in circles below the Main House; it is unlikely they were playing, as coyotes tend to be energy efficient. The coyote ran off and we had to retrieve Pumpkin. Dan and Jennie report that while we were away in early May, Pumpkin and Neko spotted a moose just north of the Carriage House and beat a quick retreat when the moose started toward them. We have not seen the moose, but it has been leaving scat and tracks for some time now. Sandhill Cranes have returned this Spring; Pumpkin stays away from them – apparently, these large birds can be quite aggressive.

In April, friends John and Jerri dropped by and we took the opportunity for an early season visit to Yellowstone. Many roads and trails were still closed, but we were able to get some good views of thermal features and the falls on the Yellowstone River. We were lucky in that this was one of the few days in April it did not snow.

April and May had few sunny days and, with the exception of two very nice days, temperatures were below normal. There was so much rain over Memorial Weekend that creeks flooded. Christie farm buildings at the bottom of our driveway were surrounded by water as Bridger Creek raged down the canyon.

A mid-day May 28 picture shows the sun barely shining into the house. Even the East and West windows of the Great Room do not get a lot of sun, so our solar design works well!

The downside of having many large windows is that birds sometimes fly into them. This American Kestrel Falcon is dazed from such a collision. Perhaps it was chasing one of the many small birds that have been hanging around. It recovered quickly and flew away.

June is the time for weeds. Our most worrisome weed is Leafy Spurge. We released insects to help combat it several years ago; we take pictures of the worst infestations around June 1 each year to monitor progress. At this time of year, Spurge has yellow-green "flowers" that stand out from other vegetation. Judging from the photos, there is progress. However, Spring was late this year (note that bushes have not greened up), so progress may be illusory. Final determination will take 5–10 years.

There were few sunny days in May or June. On June 10 at 2PM it was 38°F and snowing (see picture); on the 11th, snow level dropped to Bozeman (600 feet below us) and began to accumulate here. Meanwhile, we were busily preparing to leave the next day to attend Kendal's graduation in Seattle, then head north to Haida Gwaii with stop-overs at Orcas Island and Victoria. Given the scarcity of sun during May and June, we were hoping to see blue skies on our travels. However, sun came to Bozeman the day after we left and we did not see a clear day until June 30.

Parting Shot
North Side, June 1

It's a rare sunny day. The snow is (finally) gone, but the peaks a couple of miles North are still white and there is snow to come in about a week. The sun is further North now, so no problems with refraction. With the sun this far North, the house shades the East window of the Great Room in the morning, keeping the solar gain down.

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'Upgrade' to Web Pages

Gary started creating web pages prior to 1997 and many of the pages created since still reflect the sloppy HTML usage common at the time. Now and in the future, stricter HTML (and some CSS) will be used. Although we test our newer pages against the latest versions of the most common Windows browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari), we do not have resources to test against older versions or against Mac or Linux versions. If the pages appear to be 'broken' in any way, please report them by email or by using our blog page. Describe the problem and be sure to say which version of what browser is used (this information is available on the Help->About menu). Trouble reports will not be added to the blog unless they are of general interest.

Some examples of how different browsers behave are here.