July through September, 2012
Air Quality Alert!
The above picture is taken from a
webcam not far above us.
This has been a very hot,
dry Summer and many fires are upwind of us.
Even though we are not directly threatened by any fires,
there are days when we are advised to stay indoors and avoid strenuous
people who did leave windows open had smoke detectors going off.
The smoke is usually from
fires hundreds of miles away,
but we have had fires close enough to deposit ash on us.
These conditions are comparable to what we experienced in
The smoke can last until snows of late Fall quench the fires.
high temperatures are persisting
(note the 84° temperature at 3:14PM – about 20° above average)
so snow is not expected any time soon.
The image below shows only the major fires contributing to our haze:
We took several multi-day trips this quarter:
3 days to Cody, WY;
16 days to CA for medical tests and family visits;
10 days to WY and WA to attend concerts and visit family.
Including the 45 days we were on the road in Spring,
we are now up to 74 days on the road for the year.
we have had visitors for a total of more than 30 days.
We refer to the primitive road leading to the new shed as the
because it predates our acquisition of the property and installation of
we had buried phone and electric cable run from the Carriage House to
the shed via the old road,
improved the old road to make it easier to keep open during the Winter
and regraded the area around the shed to direct Spring run-off.
These improvements include two culverts to help keep the road dry.
The Summer has been so dry the main drive has not been compacted yet;
the delay means we will be able to use the vibratory compactor on the
new and improved old road—
when and if it rains again.
There is little level space on our property;
we have to create level spaces for buildings.
The area around the
is nearly level only because it was used to dump the excess from excavating
level places for the Main House and Carriage House.
the Pole Shed is below grade at back and above grade at the entry,
creating serious drainage problems.
We installed a
system to make sure the area immediately around the Pole Shed drains properly.
In addition to spending a lot of time on the road,
we have had many visitors this Summer.
Visitors give us the opportunity to take in local attractions we
otherwise never get to.
This Summer we took advantage of a visitor as an excuse to take the
scenic boat tour on the Missouri river through the
Gates of the Mountains.
In addition to the impressive scenery,
there is plenty of wildlife from the wilderness area along the eastern
edge of the river.
Pictured here is an
immature Bald Eagle.
The thing to note in this picture is the brownish tinge on many trees in
The mild Winter and Spring has resulted in the return of the Spruce
the budworm moth attacks our Douglas Fir in addition to Spruce.
While the brown is unsightly,
is it not yet to the level we saw in
If the attack continues a few more years,
we may start to see significant die-off of trees.
On the other hand,
the trees can
if the weather cooperates.
The Spruce Budworm is not to be confused with the
Pine Bark Beetle,
which we also have and which can kill pine trees in a matter of months.
we only have a few pines on our property.
Cousin Rhonda and her husband George visited from Oregon so we made a
long day trip to Yellowstone,
where we took the obligatory picture of Canary Spring.
Not much has been changed here in the past few years but our past visits
have documented the modifications needed to maintain the walkway:
Although the trip down was smoky and we did actually see flames of one
the skies in Yellowstone were clear.
We all took the hike down
Uncle Tom's Trail
to view the lower falls from a lower and
closer vantage point
than most tourists get.
There is usually a rainbow in the spray from the falls.
involves switchbacks and 328 stair steps adding up to 500 feet of
the trail is at an altitude of 8,000 feet and flat-landers usually regret
having made the trip as they trudge back up!
A special treat during our Yellowstone trip was spotting a herd of
mountain goats as we headed out to go home.
George was able to get this picture of a portion of the herd from the
car as we crept by.
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