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but the sun was shining and birds were calling – what’s a gal to do? April 17, 2010

Filed under: ecology,wildlife — bisonquest @ 7:07 pm

Yellow Bellied Marmot

I was supposed to be working on our ranch taxes. Yes, I know – I’m late.  I’m always late with taxes.  Extensions were made for people like me.  All the same, I was diligently working on them first thing this morning.  But when I went out to feed the livestock and let out the chickens, I got waylaid.  The sun was shining, a warm southwest breeze was blowing, and I could hear flickers and chickadees and bluebirds and….  I grabbed my camera and mud boots (I said it was a beautiful day, I didn’t say it wasn’t mucky) and just started walking.  I saw the first pasque flower of the year, and startled a flock of blue grouse.  The yellow bellied marmots were out and whistling, the flickers were making their exotic calls, and the bluebirds were courting.  I didn’t get home until lunchtime.  This is what my springs are made of.

Male Bluebird

Blue Grouse

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Red Tailed Hawks are back and “nest repairing”. April 13, 2010

Filed under: ecology,wildlife — bisonquest @ 5:13 pm

Ok – despite the fact that we got another 4 inches of snow today (and we didn’t even get rid of all of that last one yet), the red tailed hawk pair is back.  While feeding the buffs, one of them soared over my head carrying sticks to their nest at the east end of the ranch.  The red tails have a couple of nests on the ranch that they alternate their use of (as do many raptors) and this year it looks like they’re going to use their “sidewinder” nest site (we don’t have sidewinders in Montana- the drainage is named for a narrow winding 4 wheel drive road with a steep drop off as it climbs the moutainside.  Those of you who have been here undoubtedly remember it vividly.  It’s an experience.).  Actually, I’m cheating – the pics are from last year -if you look in the nest, you’ll see a chick that won’t be born for a month or two!  I’m so glad to have our “neighbors” coming back – it makes spring seem more real around here!

Red Tailed Hawk

Red tailed Hawk Nest

 

We’re wasting electricity – turn on the dishwasher! April 8, 2010

Deer and solar panels

Deer and solar panels

It’s a sunny, breezy day here on the ranch, and Craig just came running into the house yelling, “Turn on the dishwasher – wash some clothes – turn on the lights!  We’re wasting electricity.”  Is this an odd sentence to you?  If it is, then it’s obvious that you don’t have solar panels or a wind generator hooked up to your house.  We have both and on sunny, windy days we make TOO much electricity and, if we don’t use it, it has to just be dissipated.  We aren’t hooked up to “the grid” so we can’t “sell” the power back to the power company – we have to just let it go. We’re looking into getting an electric vehicle of some sort so we can use this extra electricity.  Days like today, we just look at each other and say, “why doesn’t everyone do this?”  I guess it just makes too much sense in a country where everyone is used to relying on big corporations to take care of them.

 

 
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