Scenes from the Ranch February 15, 2023

On Sunday it was fifty degrees, and the only snow in sight laid in old, crusty wind blown piles along the county road. I hiked with a cotton shirt and sneakers under sunny skies. “Where oh where is winter this year?” I wondered.

Well it came back with a wonderful heavy, wet bang yesterday! Six inches of snow followed by temperatures that plummeted to zero overnight created the perfect conditions for hoar frost to form. These beautiful feathery crystals form on still, cold nights when water vapor in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces – in this case, some twigs on the county road.

The chickens didn’t leave the coop at all yesterday as the wind whipped the snow in every direction. Today, under sunny and calm skies they ventured out under the eaves of the barn to dig in the straw. In single file they paraded along my tracks from coop to barn, not daring to stray off the path into deeper snow.

Bear the barn cat found a sunny and dry perch on top of the round bale in our backyard. I stopped to spend some time scratching his ears and back. He squirms around so much it is hard to get a good photo – but at last I managed!

Published by Heather Bilden

I live in Montana with my husband Bart. I enjoy working in the garden, taking care of the animals, and exploring the prairie with my dogs, my binoculars, and a reverence for the natural world.

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