January 08, 2010 GMT
Montana Ranch Dec 2009

The first seriously cold weather of the winter (unless your Canadian, they operate on a superhero scale of coldness) arrived with several days of -26C (-15F). I went for a two hour walk in bright sunshine at this temperature and stayed warm thanks to the multi layered clothing I had on. However on taking both pairs of gloves off my fingers went numb in seconds.

107 Frosty Faced Cattle 13th Dec.jpg
Feeding Frosty Faced Cattle In Sub Zero Temperatures


There are a number of novel features about living in sub zero temperatures:

1. You can leave frozen groceries in the car and they wonít thaw.
2. If you donít collect the henís eggs promptly they will freeze.
3. If you try to wash windows hot water freezes on contact with the glass.
4. If you touch a metal object with a damp hand it will stick like glue.

080 Snow 13th Nov.jpg
Cabins In The Snow

The only other time I have experienced this level of cold was a number of years ago travelling on the Trans Siberian Express from Moscow to Beijing in December. The carriage was kept warm and muggy by an enormous solid fuel boiler. To get off for ten minutes whenever the train stopped involved putting lots of additional clothing on just before pulling into a station then taking it all off again as the train departed. Siberia was probably colder than Montana although I donít remember what the temperatures were. I saw a heavy tracked vehicle being driven across a frozen lake and moustaches turned white with frost in a couple of minutes.

078 Snow 13th Nov.jpg
A Winter Wonderland

Christmas trees were cut down on the ranch using a chain saw, handsaw or axe depending on the size of tree required. I opted for a small table top sized one felled with the handsaw.

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Chainsaw, Handsaw And Axe. The Three Ages Of Woodcutting

104 Cutting xmas tree 12th Dec.jpg
I Opted For A Modest Tabletop Tree

We lit three large bonfires for an outdoor New Years Eve party which kept us warm despite the -12C (10F) temperature.

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New Years Eve Montana Style

On New Years Day we went ice skating on a frozen river, or at least everyone else did. Being a non skater I settled for gingerly walking on the ice.

117 Ian On Frozen River Jan 1st.jpg
Me Trying To Remain Upright On A Frozen River

There isnít as much wildlife around as there was a month or two back. Some mule deer that used to feed close to the cabin each day have disappeared. I saw elk tracks in fresh snow then a few days later got a glimpse of two dashing into the trees when I disturbed them on a walk. Three turkeys still visit on a daily basis and I have had a number of bald eagle and coyote sightings.

112 Frozen Waterfall 29th Dec.jpg
A Frozen Waterfall On The Ranch

Posted by ianmoor@tiscali.co.uk at 01:27 AM GMT
 
 

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