A Sunny Cloud

Early in the morning, the sun’s first rays hit the top of the hills and one lonely leftover cloud. I’ve learned keep the camera handy and to drop everything when the light is right. Sure enough, less than a minute later, the light changed and the magic was gone.

Cloud Talk

 

I didn’t have the heart to add

Another drop of rain

With all the cloudbursts you have had

It could become a pain.

 

I’d rather brighten up your day

With promises of joy

For drought relief, a price you pay

Too much rain can annoy.

 

It was a sunny day

Think RED. Now imagine this full moon as red as the ring around it. That’s how it really looked. The smoke in the air gave the moon the colour of blood. I’m sorry my camera doesn’t show how red it was.

I thought it was interesting that the end of a tree branch is silhouetted against the moon’s face.

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The moon.

The next day, as Paul Simon said …

It was a sunny day,

Not a cloud was in the sky.

Not a negative word was heard,

From the people passing by.

Not clouds made of water anyway. It would have been a bluebird sky if it wasn’t for the smoke. The sun was so red last evening that I thought I was looking at the red planet in a science fiction movie. It was eeeeeeeerie! Again, the photo doesn’t show the true colour I saw. Like the moon the night before, the sun was blood red. Today it’s more of the same. Smoke fills the skies.

We have natural disasters all over the world. Wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. These are all extremely hard to deal with. What I don’t understand is why we need to add man-made disasters (terrorism, political power struggles, crime, and war) to the mix.

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The sun.

I just had a note from WordPress letting me know this was my 500th post. My first reaction was, “Wow! Isn’t that great?” but then I thought, “Uh-oh! Am I talking too much?” ūüėČ

Hot Dogs and Dry Grass

What can you do if you’re a dog and it’s too hot to run around and play? You lie down under a tree and conserve your energy. Make sure the tree is in a place where you can see the back door and the deck, in case there’s any action there, or a chance to come in and have a snack.
Poor Emma looks bored, and Ruby has given up on anything interesting happening. But wait! Something is moving in the trees above.
It’s just a chickadee. Too high up to jump for.

Emma gives it a look. “If it wasn’t so hot, I’d make a leap for you….”

But, yawwwwn … she knows she wouldn’t get it.

Might as well just nap until this dog day of summer is over and the mistress calls us for supper. Sure wish she would have watered the grass though, so it’s not so prickly to lie on.

Grass is dry and breaking off,

It’s dry¬†this summer season.

The mistress turned the water off,

But do you know the reason?

 

It’s not for conservation that

She lets the grass go yellow.

The fact is she is lazy and

Would rather just be mellow.

 

If grass is green it grows a lot,

And then you have to mow it.

The mistress is a lazy sod,

Now all the world will know it.

 

 

 

The Front that Backed

In my younger days when I heard the weatherman talking about a front moving in, I had only a vague idea of what that meant. It was some “up in the sky” kind of condition involving air pressure and a lot of other complicated meteorological terms. Later, I clued in that sometimes you can see the effects of a “front.” I can more easily understand things that I can see.

This morning I saw a front in action in the sky outside my house. I used to think the front was the edge of the clouds moving in like a giant wall. Amazingly, the cloudy side was not advancing, as it usually seemed to do. This one was backing off. Instead, the edge of the blue sky was pushing away the wall of clouds. The wind was coming from the north, bringing clear, cold air into the valley.

The rising sun put a pink glow on the clouds and the snow on the hilltops.

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Just in case we’re all getting too happy about the sunny day, I need to let you know that later in the morning, the winds changed to southeast and¬†precipitation is sure to follow sometime soon. If only I could save some of that rain for the summer when the drought is sure to hit again.

Putting off Winter

I’m trying to think of ways to put off Christmas/winter for just a little longer. Maybe I’ll get inspired next week and get some decorations up. But for one more blog posting, I want to reminisce about the last bit of summerish sunshine I found in Montana in October. No wonder I’m yearning for it. Since ¬†we got home, it seems all we’ve had is one bad weather system after another. First it’s wind and rain and then it’s rain and wind.

So I hope you won’t mind taking one more trip back to Montana with me to remember those sunny days. Walking through a field that the farmer had left natural–not fallow, but natural–I came across unexpected treasures. This juniper bush, for example; I wish I could share the aroma with you through the photo.

Juniper bush with berries

Juniper bush with berries

The field seemed to be nothing but a bunch of old grasses at first, but it was full of life. Even the plant life was interesting because of so many varieties. It was very, very quiet here, except for the swishing of the grasses in the slight breeze.

High grasses of many types

High grasses of many types

Imagine you are high-stepping it through these grasses when you happen to look up and, from the clump of bushes ahead, an owl silently lifts off and glides away to another clump of dense brush a safer distance from the intruders. I tried to take his picture but he was too quick and his silent flight gave him several seconds’ head start. The photo I got only shows that a bird was actually there, but you can’t tell that it was Detective Owl of Who Dunnnit fame.¬†https://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/who-dunnit/

Detective Owl might have had a little drink. He's quite blurry.

Detective Owl might have had a little drink. He’s quite blurry.

Owls are not the only birds around here. Upland game birds, such as pheasants, partridge and grouse can be found here too. If I had a pheasant ¬†for the pot, I’d have no trouble finding the herbs to spice it up with. This sage is aromatic and ready to use.

Perfect for the stuffing.

Perfect for the stuffing.

But in case I started thinking too much about dinner, I continued my high-stepping hike through the field and had to concentrate on keeping out of the mucky spot where a bit of water had collected, maybe to keep the cattails happy.

They like it a little bit wetter so you'll find them in the lower dips of the field.

They like it a little bit wetter so you’ll find them in the lower dips of the field.

Not wanting to get my feet wet, I climbed higher up the hillside. Near the crest of the hill I was surprised to see a plant I had only expected to see in semi-desert terrain.

Prickly pear cactus. I was so glad to be wearing my heavy boots.

Prickly pear cactus. I was so glad to be wearing my heavy boots.

It was at this point that I remembered a farmer saying that it may be October but the rattlers haven’t denned up yet. Where there’s dry ground and prickly pear cactus, there could possibly be rattlesnakes. I walked back to the truck along the edge of the planted field that bordered the natural one. This way I could see the earth between the wheat stubble and I kept my eyes busy sweeping the ground about ten feet ahead of me. I wasn’t really worried about snakes, and I felt pretty safe with my high leather boots, but still, I believe it’s better to avoid trouble than to have to confront it.

It was a beautiful warm day and I felt part of the natural world – maybe a little bit high on all the fresh air. I loved it here. Someday I’ll come back again to the farms near the Missouri River.

A very long river

A very long river

The Dry Summer Ends

Grass fires

Like many parts of North America this summer, a lack of rain drove the fire hazard rating to “Extreme.” As we drove through eastern Washington, Idaho, and western Montana, smoke from forest and grass fires covered the skies with a smoky haze. Farmers worried about anyone parking on their grassy side roads in case a spark from a hot engine might ignite the tinder dry grasses. Some told us that their own harvesting equipment started fires, but they had to get their crops off, so it was a risk they had to take.

Luckily we had a rainfall soon after arriving in Montana. That took away some of the concern, but as we drove around we saw many burnt patches where fires had raged not long before.

Scorched Earth?

Luckily, the dry spell is over. About ten days ago, the wind whipped monster raindrops around, drenching the ground and bringing the clay gumbo into play.

The snow is next. Days are getting much chillier and nights are frosty. Still, some days as recently as a week ago, felt like summer, but the nights tell the story. Winter is coming soon. No more forest or grass fires for a while.