December 26, 2008

Winter Montana Ranch Puzzles!

I haven't posted much about our 'ranch work'... The first thing that comes to mind whenever I describe our daily 'activities' is 'we do the same thing year after year'! Whatever we do in a certain season of one year is what we did the same season of last year, and we will more than likely be doing the same thing next year!
To me, that means it is hard for me to find something 'interesting' to write about! I do know that any of it would be of interest to those of you who are not ranchers in Montana.

Here are several photo jigsaw puzzles of 'Winter Life' in Montana:

Most puzzle files are quite small, and usaully take less than a minute to download. If you don't wish to play online, right click on each thumbnail, and "Save Target as...." to your computer.
Barn Pets

Geese and Snow
These are not wintertime scenes, but I thought you might find them fun to complete:


Moving Cows
~~ With A Twist! ~~
& a smaller, easier puzzle of the same photo
NOTE: The ~~with a twist!~~ puzzles are 'rotated' as they are scattered; the pieces may be turned by left-clicking to 'lift' the piece, as we do while moving the pieces around... and then right-click to rotate the piece.THESE ARE FUN!

2008 Is Ending On A Cold Note!

After the warm fall, it was a bit of a shock when December began with a sudden drop in temperatures. In Montana, we expect cold, freezing temps to begin in October; but this year, we were 'lulled' into an attitude of 'look at how long our fall is'. So, when the weatherman said we were to receive a blast from the north, I took a second look at how well my yard was tucked in for the winter.
The nighttime temps were to reach -30's and we had very little snow, so I worried about my roses. Many of them were Canadian bred roses, but they still suffer top winterkill if there is not enough snowcover. We had about 2 inches of snow, and the wind was fast blowing it away from my flowerbeds!
So, I began to haul snow, by the tubfull, into and onto the flowerbeds and roses. I had dropped several shovelfuls of dirt around each rose's crown, and had also covered the most tender varieties with a rose cone. Now, I began to bury everything under piles of snow.
Even the newly planted iris row needed help; the ground was completely bare around them!
Several hours later, everything looked much better! I set a few buckets and other 'junk' around in the beds and on the 'upwind' side of several roses, just to add a bit of snow-holding bulk.
For nearly a week, nighttime temps reached -25 or colder. A weak winter sun couldn't compete against the never-ending wind, and daytime temps did not climb above -5.
We were busy keeping the animals warm and breaking water in tanks and buckets, so I didn't have a chance to worry about the roses.
One day, the sun came out and the cold intensified as the wind dropped... then suddenly, it began to warm up! I took the above photo out of the dining room window and again began to dream of watching my roses bloom next year.
What a perfect time for four or five rose catalogs to come in the mail! :)
On the one hand, it will be easier for me to resist the temptation of ordering a plant that is not hardy to zone 3 or 2... and on the other, I am thinking I may be able to order several replacement roses, 'for those that will surely die back to the ground' this winter!!! :)
The final effect of the cold temps with little snow won't be known until spring... but this is typical Montana winter conditions: cold and little snowcover. We will get cold temps again for most of January and February, but hopefully more snow will come also.