Friday, February 28, 2014

Hidden in the Back of the Freezer III: Five Days Later

If you've been following along for the last couple of weeks you know I put out three (3) ice marbles that I found in the freezer leftover from last winter's tutorial.  And then we got hit with over a foot of snow in a few days.

Can you find the three (3) ice marbles in this photo?

You might remember the salmon pink one!

Oh! Here are the turquoise and purple ice marbles!  They look like they're where the hats that the Buckingham Palace guards wear, don't they?

And here's a view of these two from the uphill side.  Check out that crazy levitating snow on the fence!  

Apologies for the glove getting in the way.  Can you spot the Bigfoot in this photo?

The next day they were gone!  The neighbor teens had been sledding on the road that afternoon and had to scamper out of the way of the other neighbor plowing the road and I think that knocked them off into the snow... the 2-3 feet of snow right by the fence.  I don't know for sure how they were knocked off, but I found two of the three, brushed them off and re-installed them.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

They Can't All Be Winners: Snosaic Edition

After finding and using those ice marbles from the freezer, I remembered just how much I like having those bright colors outside among the beautiful, but stark winter scenery.  So I decided to try an experiment with colored ice cubes.  Of course, I couldn't just go with rectangles what with all these quirky silicone ice trays, plastic candy molds and even that tree-shaped muffin tin!  I had big plans for a woodland scene with two sizes of trees in 3 tones of green, blue skies and even some Bigfoots* interspersed all into the side o f the cylinder that form atop the birdbath we can see from the kitchen window, BUT that didn't work out. The neither size of tree would stay in place and most of the Bigfoots wouldn't either.  Oh, well.

It's still nice to see a spot of color out the window while doing dishes or just watching the snow fall while making coffee or when walking around the house with the dogs or plowing the driveway.  I want to think about what didn't go as expected and see about trying again some other time. I have LOTS of ice cubes left over, too.  If you want to try, here's how I got as far as I did.  I think if you have wetter, more packed snow you'll have better luck out of the gate.

First I gathered my ice cube trays, candy molds, etc., as well as a liquid measure and food coloring. I didn't realize that I was out of blue, so I used some blue sugar sprinkles that I dissolved in water.  It turns out that the color stayed more evenly dispersed in the ice than with just the food coloring.

I made blue and then green ice cubes in various trays.  That's when I decided to give my Yeti ice cube tray a try for making Bigfoots, I used equal parts red and green food dye to get brown.

I froze them for about 2 days, but I'm sure they would have been ready before that.

It's not always lucky that our enclosed-porch-cum-mudroom is not heated, but for this project it worked out as I was able to take my time emptying the trays and molds into containers to take outside.

I started with the big trees, but they just wouldn't stay put.  So then I just started stacking blue cubes like bricks in a running bond pattern and finally starting varying it a bit and then realized that fingerless gloves are NOT the right way to save your gloves from getting stained by food dye, because when it's 18F outside playing with ice and snow is REALLY, REALLY COLD. Really.  Next time dishwashing gloves over regular gloves.

I was able to stick some trees in the top and two Bigfoots in the bottom row. Not the most attractive or satisfying design, but I think I figured out a few reasons why it didn't work, so hopefully I can come up with ways to make it work. Look out Winter 2015, I'm going to snowsaic you like you've never been snosaiced before!

And this is what it looked like after another several inches of snow fell over the next couple of days.  Oh, well!

The right hand Bigfoot seems to be feeling victorious, at least.

*Without having researched it at all, I am convinced that "Bigfoots" and not "Bigfeet" is the plural for "Bigfoot."  Plus it's funny to say.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Strange New Customs

When we first moved here and were visiting another local town, the one with the closest library, photo copy service, and such and noticed signs along Main Street forbidding U-turns and J-turns.  What are J-turns?

Of course we came home and looked it up online, but all we found were videos of stunt drivers doing stunt driving stunts.  It seemed unlikely that a small town would need to expressly forbid such a thing and post it on signs along the main street. There is supposed to be a YouTube video below, let's see if it works!

Eventually I remembered to ask someone when I was in town.  You see, Stevensville (the State of Montana's "first permanent settlement") has such a wide main street that there is diagonal parking on each side of the street; so in Stevi (as the locals call it) J-turning is pulling into a parking spot from the opposite lane of traffic.  When I drove into town after the last heavy snow a few weeks ago and saw this 18" pile of snow down the center of the street I thought, "Try to J-turn now, suckahs!"

Eric saw a 4' pile of snow between lanes of traffic in downtown Missoula around the same time.  Hoo boy.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hidden in the Back of the Freezer II: The Next Day

These are the ice marbles from my last post just 24 hours and 45 minutes later.

We got three or four more inches of snow than the 1-2" we saw forecast.  

Annnnnnd, we now are under a severe weather warning from this afternoon (Saturday, February 22) through the morning of Monday, February 24.  This was the peek-view across the valley I got this morning, about 4 hours before the ice marble photos above were taken.  

I'm so grateful that I still can be stopped in my tracks to look around our property and out at the views.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hidden in the Back of the Freezer

I had some ice marbles in the freezer left over from last year and kept forgetting to put them out during cold snaps.  It's supposed to be cooler the next few-to-several days and I remembered at a time when I could actually do something about it. WOO!

And yes, it is snowing again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Whose Fur Is This, Anyway?

I was following Delia's lead on her daily midday walk in the woods when we walked right "through" this fur caught on a branch.  I'm no expert wildlife tracker, but I'm going to go with my gut instinct: Bigfoot.

When trying to capture an image of the fur with my camera phone, I also got this one.  It failed at its intended purpose, but I like it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Can You Even See These Cupcakes?

There is a bake sale today to raise funds for Eric's employer's Employee Crisis Assistance Program.  It's super nice to have a place to take baked goods so we don't "have" to eat them all at home or constantly foist them off on the few neighbors we have annnnnd we get to contribute to a cool thing.  In this case, I got to try to make these fun-looking Camo Cupcakes!

And since these went to RMEF (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation), it seemed appropriate to utilize some free clip art Elk and Wapiti!

FUN FACT:  Another name for Elk is "Wapiti."  From Wikipedia:  The name wapiti is from the Shawnee and Cree word waapiti, meaning "white rump". This name is used in particular for the Asian subspecies (Altai wapitiTian Shan wapitiManchurian wapiti and Alashan wapiti), because in Eurasia the name elk continues to be used for the moose.  You see "Wapiti" used in business names and such around here.

And if you've been following along with this blog or do much in the way of animal watching in the wild, you know that wild animal poop (scat) is important and worthy of note.

NOTE: All feces depicted on these cupcakes is faux feces.

They will sell small treats like these, cookies, etc. at some set prices and then have a silent auction for the larger baked goods.  Eric has been instructed to look for and bid on a good looking pie if there is one.  I don't know how often they have these fundraisers, but I do know that last month they held a chili cook-off to raise funds for the program and Eric is considering contributing his famous-ish pork chili next year. I think he has a shot; that stuff is delicious.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bad News & Good News

First, the bad news: Last Wednesday, Eric had some near misses with some trees a couple of times on his way down our driveway and road for his morning commute.  We had had freezing rain and then snow on top over night and it made for slippery dog walks, even with my "treads" which seemed to accumulate snow and detritus.  But Khan didn't hit any trees or go in any ditches and neither the Beastie Grrrlz nor I fell.

It turns out that a couple of inches of new powder on top of ice is a recipe for clogging up my treads. Luckily that didn't seem to effect their gripping abilities.

However, when we had firewood delivered that afternoon, the Death Luge Ice Driveway claimed a victim.  On his way out, the firewood man skid and hit a tree.  No people or trees were hurt, but the truck got kind of munched. I'd warned him that it was slick before he headed over, but I think he thought I was just a greenhorn and overreacting.  I'm really bummed for him; he's a mechanic in the warm weather and I hope he knows a good body guy or gal who can help him out quickly and inexpensively.

Before he left, he said he'd call me before noon the next day and bring our our final cord, but that did not happen. We did get it early the next week, though.

Now, the good news: Wednesday night and most of Thursday it snowed!  Now this was when the Polar Vortex was wreaking some havoc in other parts of the country and snow was not welcome, but we were not snowy at all and it was kind of bumming us out.  We didn't move to the Rockies to be practically snow free right in the middle of winter for crying out loud!*

Looking west towards Idaho in the National Forest.

I'm grateful that I am still in awe of how the property and forest look covered in snow.  I hope I never take it for granted.

My new Bigfoot Crossing sign looking even cooler with the snow.

So here I will just bombard you with more photos of snow taken around the property.

I love how the snow here sticks to just any little twig or bit of wire, at least until we get a little wind.  This "fence" is around the garden part of the yard and those dead plants are what happens to asparagus that you didn't know was planted in your garden until it was too late.

The roof line of the ATV-port. At the time this was taken, it was the biggest icicle we'd had to date; that is far from the case now. I want to get shots of those on the house eaves, but it's hard for me to capture them adequately. 

I missed my chance to capture this last time, so was pretty excited to get another chance this year.  This is the "roof" over part of the chicken yard.  Pine needles hang up in it all year, but the snow building up on the chicken wire and letting sunlight filter through is pretty neato.

We can't play Pine Cone when they're buried in the snow, so Santa brought Betty these brightly colored fetching toys for her daily romp time.  She likes to catch her breath and cool off on the deck for a few minutes before coming back in to lay by the fire.

*I started writing this post over a week ago, before Portland was hit with their Snowmageddon. Now it all seems less Bitterroot-specific, but dang it!  I am still in love with our snow and I still feel like a kid when I look out and see it falling or see it covering our yard and forest!  And here we can usually get around in it, so there's that, too.  One final note: we have gotten a few more inches since I took these shots and I'll probably be sharing more, ya' lucky dogs.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Love Is Hung On The walls. Or Love Is In The Air; I've Heard It Both Ways.

After taking down the Christmas decorations in the 3rd week of January, ahem, it was looking pretty plain around here.  That was especially so of Ramon and Mavis and I could not let that stand.  Since moving here, I've become suddenly interested in holiday decorating*, especially decorating the taxidermy.

I don't have much in the way of decorations for anything other than Halloween and Christmas.  After trawling around pinterest I decided Mavis needed Cupid's arrows and made these.  She looked pretty plain after the gloriousness of her Christmas get up, but after I few days her new, sleeker look grew on me.

Ramon and Mavis trade off keeping it classy, but Ramon usually opts to skip his turn. Introducing Ramon: Lounge Lizard & Love Tyrant.


That 70s Dinosaur.

For Ramon I used wigs from the costume box(es), dollar store novelty shades, and a homemade gold chain.  I cut open and re-glue a couple of Mardi Gras bead necklaces to get one long enough to fit over his face and then I added the gold heart which I had purged from the Christmas tree ornament box this year.

*see what I did there?