Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Did The Cow Cross The Road?

To get to the other side, of course!

This time of year, the cows cross the road into a section of land we call Harry's. This is actually a field we crop, and also has some grass rows and tree rows. It provides excellent fall grazing on grasses and crop stubble. The only problem is that this field does not have any running water. So, this means that the cows feed during the day on Harry's, then at night they come back home where they have access to the watering fountains in the corral. In the morning, they are lined up at the gate, ready to go across to Harry's, and in the evening, they're lined up at the gate on Harry's ready to come back across to home. Back and forth, every day, they do this routine. This morning, it fell upon me to go to Tom and Carol's house to let the cows across the road into Harry's.

I got to the house about 8:00 a.m. By this time, a group of cows were already lined up at the gate ready to go feed.
Cows dot the feeding pasture, and some were already lined up at the gate to go to Harry's.
 I had no difficulty opening the gate to let them out. Sometimes the gates are really tight and hard to open, but either the gate wasn't as tough as Jeff told me it could be, or I'm getting stronger.  I'll go with the latter. Thank you, November Plank Challenge!
At first when I opened the gate, the cows just stood there and looked at me for a bit. I'm not the person who normally lets them out-- perhaps they noticed this? Then, they started walking single file across the road.
Sweetgrass Hills in the background. Such a lovely view from this spot.
 The never made a sound, and they knew exactly where they were supposed to go. For the most part, we had no issues getting across.
You lookin' at me?
 After the initial string of single file animals, a few larger groups came all at once. A few of the cows paused to take a glance at me or rip a mouthful of ditch grass along the way, but they all made their way across the road in their own time.
The last stragglers.
 As there were fewer and fewer left in the pasture, I hollered at them to come along. Eventually, they all made their way.
Oops!
Only one cow decided she wanted to be different. Notice, if you can, that she is on the wrong side of the fence! I had Tom's pickup with me, so I drove down the road and got ahead of her, got her turned around, and walked her back down to the gate. No big deal. Thankfully, she had a pretty good idea of where she wanted to be, and didn't make a run for it in any other direction.
 Once she got back down to the gate, she saw the opening, and in she went.

The final step was closing the gate to Harry's. I had never actually closed this gate before, or any gate with a crank closure, in fact. But, with a little over-the-phone help from Tom, I figured out the mechanics of securing the gate. Morning mission accomplished!  The whole event took about 40 minutes.

As I was handling the herd on my own this morning, I couldn't help thinking about my job. Specifically, working with my group of Eighth Graders. These are the kids who continually have behavior issues in school, low grades, oppositional behaviors, etc. It's my job to help them raise their self esteem, teach them social skills, and generally how to be better citizens. We have a weekly group session-- me and five of these kids. I get asked sometimes how I can handle them on my own, how it is that they don't drive me crazy or run all over me. Things like that. "How do you do it?!"

See, working with cows, I have learned that you have to give them some space. You have to be gentle, calm, and above all, respect their movements, preferences, and tendencies. Cows are big, big animals, and they can't be controlled with fear or violence. If you're confident and respectful toward them, they'll likely do as you'd like. The best thing to do is to encourage them on the path they'd like to take anyway, and be positive. If I can handle 100+ large cows, then a group of five Eight Graders should be a breeze. Above all, treat them with respect.

Getting back to why I was doing this all on my own this morning anyway. Jeff and his buddy Jeremy and his wife Jacynta were out hunting for deer this morning, so Jeff asked if I'd be comfortable doing this cow chore. This was totally fine with me, in fact. And where were Tom and Carol? Well, they had a pretty good reason for being gone...
Our nephew, Brandon William, was born in the wee small hours of the morning on Wednesday, November 19. Tom and Carol were down in Bozeman spending quality time with the little Nugget and Katie and Josh. Welcome to the family, Brandon! Can't wait to meet you!

And, just for fun, I present you with these punny images:







Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Racing Bucket List

Completing the Best and Worst Race Link Up I did recently got me thinking about some of the very cool races there are out there. This inspired me to create a Racing Bucket List. So, below you'll read a bit about some races I would love to do!

Bloomsday-- It's a 12K race in Spokane, WA. It's been going for nearly 40 years. Spokane isn't too far away. Who wouldn't want to run when lilacs are supposedly in peak bloom? Sounds great.
Photo credit: www.bloomsdayrun.org.
Bozeman Marathon-- And by marathon I really mean marathon relay. RELAY. Ha! You thought I was admitting to wanting to do a marathon, didn't you?! Bozeman Marathon runs in September in Bozeman, MT. I think it would be super fun to do it as a relay with three other people-- each of us running about a 10K. I'm in Bozeman all the time in the fall. The trick would not be getting there, it would be finding three other people to commit to doing it with me! The greater the challenge, the greater the reward... who's with me?! They do, of course, offer full and half marathon distances for those of you who don't play well with others. ;)
This photo has nothing to do with running, but this is me, Harvey (dog), and Jeff (husband), on the M trail in Bozeman.
I'm fairly certain it has not snowed for Bozeman Marathon in it's brief history, and also pretty sure the race route does not hike up to the M. 
Title 9K-- 9K (duh!) with a couple locations. This year, they did it in Boulder, CO in May and in the Bay Area in September. I love this company and what they're about and I think it would be awesome to participate in this event. Women only-- NO BOYS ALLOWED! ;)

Missoula Marathon--Again, I probably aint' doin' no stinkin' marathon! But what I would like to do is the 5K that they also offer and then stick around and cheer for all my friends who ARE doing a half or full marathon! This is a super popular race in Montana, so I know I'd have a lot of people to cheer for! Seriously, I am in awe of people who run that far. You guys rock. Hardcore. But I'm probably sticking with my 5Ks and 10Ks for now.
Missoula Half Marathon
Image source: www.missoulamarathon.org
Run to the Pub-- Around St. Patrick's Day in Bozeman, MT. They offer a half-marathon and a 10K. According to their website, this event was voted by Runner's World to be the #2 Half-Marathon in the country! Must be pretty awesome. The 10K probably is, too, which is what I'd be running. My sister in law and her husband did it last year with some friends and said it was great. I'm hoping to sneak down and do it sometime if I can (that's when we are calving!). But seriously. If it's that awesome, I should be able to make it down someday for this race, right? It'll happen. Someday.
Thanks to Katie S. for sharing this photo from after the run!
Bix 7-- Late July, Davenport, IA. 7 mile race. This is one that people always talk about in Iowa. As in, "Have you done Bix yet?" or, "Have you ever done Bix?" People just know what "Bix" is. Runners know what "Bix" is. I hear it's hot, hilly, and hard, but it just feels like something a runner should do. So, someday, I will do it. It's been running since 1975, so another one that's almost 40 years. Hopefully I will do this sometime within the next 40 years.

Icebreaker-- OK. I have done this one before. Twice. This is a great race because it's big and it's local, and it's staying on my list because I want to try to do it as many years as I can, as long as they keep doing it. I've only missed one since I've lived here, because I was sick. It kicks off the racing season in the spring and it's just a lot of fun. So the Icebreaker makes the list. They have 5, 3, and 1 mile races in April in Great Falls, MT. Next time I do it, I'd like to do the 5 mile.

Ulm Buffalo Jump Events-- No website for this one, but it's put on by RaceMT. The Buffalo Jump events includes a half-marathon, 10K, and 3 mile walk. Located at Buffalo Jump State Park, Ulm, MT. I was really close to doing this one last spring, but I was just coming off of being sick (which is why I missed the Icebreaker) and didn't ultimately feel I'd had sufficient training. So, maybe next year.
Buffalo Jump Races
Image source: www.getevent.com
Seriously. I would LOVE a tshirt with this bison on it!
Governor's Cup-- This one is a classic in Montana. Offers the full complement of race distances: fun run, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon. I'd really like to make it to this race, held in Helena, MT in June, sometime. Just seems like something a Montanan should experience! Plus, I'm inspired by Heather Lieberg, who runs for Oiselle, is from Helena, runs in Governor's Cup regularly, and just finished with an awesome time in the Twin Cities Marathon! Read this article HERE to find out more about here.

Take Jeff to Dam to Dam.  Is it really fair to put something I want my husband to do on my bucket list? Fair or not, it is something I want to do with Jeff. This is one race that was always important in my family growing up. My mom did the 20K, back before it was converted into an official Half-Marathon. I've done the 5K a number of times. It's just a race that was always a classic in our family, and I'd like to bring Jeff to do it with me someday. Held in Des Moines, IA in late May.

Any race that ends in a football stadium-- I don't have one picked out for sure for this one, but someday I think it would be really, really cool to do a race that ends on the field of a football stadium. Bonus points if it's the Chicago Bears. I know they exist. Someday, I'll do this.
Image source: www.k2k5k.com.
My brother did this 5K in Iowa City this fall.
Not sure if finishing in University of Iowa's stadium is ideal, but I could probably make it work!
A race in Rudyard and/or Goldstone-- Rudyard is the town I live near (by near I mean 20 miles north of), and Goldstone is the name of our "neighborhood" out in the country. I would really like to run a 5K or 10K in either or both of those places, even if that might mean I'll have to organize it myself. There. I've written it in my blog. Now you all know that I have that pipe dream and you can hold me accountable for making it happen!!!

Half Marathon or Marathon?
I don't have any half or full marathons on my list because at this point. I'm just not interested in that distance. I like being in the 5K to 10K range, or slightly higher. I'm a natural sprinter, so distance running is not easy for me. I'm happy for now with the challenge of training for shorter races.

So, there's just a few! I see races all the time that look like fun, and I'm sure this list will grow! Any suggestions for races I should add to my list? Do any of you have a racing bucket list? What's on your list? Or, who wants to do any of the above with me?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter Wonderland Photos

Two posts ago, I submitted a Call for Entry of sorts for photos from all of YOU of your snowy outdoor pursuits over the weekend! So, did you get outside over the weekend?

Jeff and I spent most of our weekend in Bozeman, for the last home football game of the regular season for the Bobcats. They took on Idaho State on a bitterly cold afternoon this past Saturday. We bundled up in layers upon layers of clothing and trekked to the game, being the loyal fans that we are. Game time temperature at kickoff was a brisk 8 degrees above zero. I am so, so thankful that our seats are on the sunny side of the stadium! With all my layers, I was actually quite comfortable up until the sun started to set at the end of the last quarter.

With the sunset came a Bobcat VICTORY, but man, was it a CLOSE GAME! The Cats barely held off the fierce Bengal offensive attack, as time expired. What a game. Jeff and I agreed that this game will go down in our own Top Five Most Exciting Bobcat Games We've Been To. Also included for me are the MSU v. Eastern Washington earlier this fall (Cats lost, but it was a helluva game and really woke us all up to the team they really could be this year!), and a few years ago the playoff game vs. New Hampshire (I think my heart stopped beating when NHU went for the last second field-goal...and MISSED!).

Again, Jeff and I arrived home just in time to do cow chores on Sunday afternoon. After making the 5 hour drive from Bozeman, and watching the sun shine and the temperature rise all the way home, I was getting really excited about the prospect of finally running outside, after a week on the treadmill. But alas, it was not to be. Everywhere in the state (or so it seemed!) was sunny and in the mid to upper 20s, but it was as if there was a wall of low pressure just north of Rudyard, keeping our farm and surrounding environs down to balmy low-teens with humidity and WIND! Ugh. We again fed the cows and bulls in about 15 degree temps, no sun, and biting northwest wind.

So, I powered through 64 minutes of running on the treadmill instead. Bleh.

But anyway. On to the real reason you're checking in on my blog today: PHOTOS! The request was in my blog two posts ago, read it HERE! Basically, the challenge was for people to get outside over the weekend and snap some photos of winter fun. Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope all of you enjoy the submissions!  I've included first names of people who sent images, their captions if they had any, and a link to their website or blog if they have one. I think there's some pretty cool images! Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Carol sent these two photos. The caption she sent was: On my way to the elliptical in the basement,  I snapped these photos. One of frost on the window pane and one of the decor on the front deck.
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Amen!
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Strangely, quite lovely! 
Kendra, a HiLine friend and neighbor sent the next two photos. No caption, but I think they speak for themselves!!! :)

Too cute! :)
The next three images are from my husband, Jeff's, phone. I'd say he sent them, but really what happened was I went through is phone and found some cool photos to upload.  He did not send me any captions, either, so I'm adding my own. :)
Great Horned Owl perched on our neighbor, Merlin's, combine. 
Anyone want to have a seat? 
Can you spot the bird perched on the straw bale? 
The next several photos are from my mom, Penny. She is an EXCELLENT photographer, and actually has a nice blog she just started up to showcase her work. Find it here: http://adamphotography.zenfolio.com/blog

Following are the four photos she sent, with this caption: Attached are a few photos for you to use as you like.  These are from past photo walks, wasn't able to get out this weekend.  One of Mrs Moore's barn you may recognize from last year's Christmas card. The three from Veenker go back a few years.  It snowed lightly all day yesterday and these are the shots I would have gone for, if able to get outside.  Enjoy!!




Next up, we have a really cute photo from my blogging pal Jessie from over at The Right Fits
This is the caption she included: Hi Katie,
Here’s a picture for your winter challenge. Tilda and I went for a nice long walk at a local off-leash park. It was definitely cold here in Minneapolis!
Matilda, or Tilda, as they call her, sure is a cutie!! Of course, I do have a weakness for vizslas! :) Jessie posts regularly about Tilda on her weekly Tilda Tuesday segment of her blog. Definitely check it out if you love cute doggie photos! :)

Last but not least, my friend Joellyn gave me permission to post this next photo:
This image is along the Missouri River in Fort Benton, MT. The caption she had for this was: If you can handle the cold, there is much beauty in it.  Agreed, wholeheartedly! Joellyn has a really lovely blog as well, which you can check out here: http://www.montanaprairietales.com/

So there you have it! I think we got some really interesting, funny, beautiful photos to enjoy. I agree so much with Joellyn's comment that there is so much beauty in winter. All you have to do is bundle up, get out there, and enjoy it.  I think often about how thankful I really am that I live in a place which has a discernible change in seasons, that we have all four seasons to appreciate.  Perhaps this photo project will become a seasonal blog post idea??  Thank you to everyone who read and submitted a photo or two! Which photos did you particularly enjoy? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

How Do Ya Like Them Apples?.... Part II.

Remember that post I did a few weeks ago about all those Honeycrisp apples? We're still chipping away at the box and I'm happy to report that we're now onto the bottom layer of apples! Hooray!

This past weekend, I made three more batches of dehydrated apple rings (used up 9 apples) and also started in on a batch of apple brandy (4 apples), and made apple oatmeal cookies (one apple). We've also been eating a lot of them plain, of course, as they're perfectly sweet and delicious all on their own. I'm almost to the point where I can fit all the remaining apples in the crisper drawer in the fridge, but not quite. 

Here's the apple brandy in progress: 
 First, you pour a bunch of not-your-best brandy into a large bowl, jug or other vessel. Then, you chop up a whole bunch of apples and toss them in, along with a few other ingredients.
Then, you just let it sit in a cool, dark place for two weeks, stirring daily. After that, you strain it out and pour it back into the original brandy bottles, or other containers of your choice.

Please note that this is NOT Apple Pie moonshine with Everclear. It may taste very similar in the end, but it's nowhere near as potent! This is different. 

For me, apple brandy is sentimental. When I did my college study abroad in Lyon, France, my host family had apple brandy nearly every evening after dinner as a digestif. Believe me, it burns the hole right down, but tastes good while doing so. Jeff and I made apple brandy for the first time two years ago and it turned out great-- very smooth. The apples themselves sort of suck up the harsh alcohol taste of the brandy while imparting their delicious apply flavor into the liquid. The end result is a smooth, tasty, applicious drink of yumminess. Many people on my Christmas List this year will be receiving a sample. :)

The apple cookies I made were apple-oatmeal, with honey instead of sugar, and I also added flax seed meal for extra fiber. They turned out great. Jeff and his friend Jeremy, who's here for a week or so for hunting, have been eating them right up. Harvey likes them, too. (Yes, I fed my dog a partial cookie...) And, they're healthy enough that I don't mind having cookies for breakfast!
 Before and after shots of the cookies. YUM!

For a savory, dinner-time variation on apple use, we made this dish a few times, too:
 I call it German Apple Dinner. Pretty simple-- we just dice up a few potatoes, one very large apple, some onion, and some German-style bratwurst and simmer with a little butter. Towards the end, add enough of your favorite beer to coat the bottom of the pan. Let that cook off and absorb into the food, add some spices, and then it's done! Meal in about thirty minutes! Yum. :)

So... now's where I make a secret confession.

I started on this post about two weeks ago, and just keep adding to it whenever I do something fun and exciting with apples. But if you've been doing the math, you remember from above that the apple brandy takes about two weeks of flavor-melding and stirring.

So that means....
It's finished!!! 
Jeff and I strained the apple brandy this morning and returned it to the original brandy bottles. We haven't sampled it yet because, well, it's only 8:45 in the morning and we have a long day ahead of us. We're planning on taking a bottle of this down to Bozeman with us for this weekend's Bobcat Football game against Idaho State. With highs for tomorrows game in single digits, I think a little warming from within thanks to apple brandy might be just the ticket!

What are some of your favorite ways to eat and enjoy apples?

Also, please click back to my previous post and check it out! I'm hoping to have a big post full of winter scene photos from readers on Monday, but it might be lame unless people like YOU submit a photo or two!  :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter Fun Photos-- Call For Entry!

With frigid winter temperatures happening in much of the US lately, it feels like winter time. This morning on my drive to work, my car said it was -18! Yikes. The first blast of winter always feels the coldest, and in this case, it's pretty dang cold up here in northern Montana! In this post, I'm going to ask all of us to look to the fun side of cold weather with some reader participation. Keep reading to find out more!

I've been a little bummed about it being so cold because, for one thing, it makes completing my November Fitness Challenges a little more mentally tough. I don't mind running outside in winter conditions, and in fact, I actually enjoy it quite a bit, but I'm a little bit more picky about exactly what type of conditions are tolerable for running. Here's some of my preferences:

  • Temperature above 15 degrees. Although, I'd go to a lower temperature if the next two qualifications are also met...
  • Minimal wind. This can be a tall order out here on the prairie. 
  • Sunshine, if possible. 
Some days, even just one of those three qualifications will be met and I'll head out for an outside run. But this week, it's not likely to happen. Our highs have been in single-digits during the warm part of the day, so by the time I get home from work and it's already evening, it's been below zero. Welcome to Winter!  Needless to say, I spend a lot more time running on the treadmill during the winter months. Ugh. So boring. Hence why I said this week's attempts to stay with my Funk~N~Run challenge have been a bit more mentally tough. I struggle with treadmill running. 

Then, today, I spotted this post on the Oiselle blog: Tis The Season To Go Funning! It's full of great ideas to make winter running more fun or at least more bearable. There were tons of really great, fun-sounding ideas that I would love to do, and in fact, I'm starting now.

One of their suggestions is to take a camera or phone with you while running (thanks to all those extra pockets in your winter layering scheme!) and snap some wintry images while you're out there. I realize that many of my readers are here to read about what we do on our farm, or about hunting, or life on the HiLine, and not all of you are interested in running. So, to make it more inclusive of my whole audience, I'm changing the rules to: Take a photo of something wintry while you're outside. If you happen to be out for a run, all the better for you! 

Here's your mission, if you choose to accept! 
  1. Get Outside and take a photo on your phone or camera! Go for a walk or run, do farm chores, spend time with your kids or dog, whatever. Bundle up and get out there!
  2. Mimimal Editing. We want these photos as real and as easy as possible. Don't worry about taking the time to tweak and polish. Try to go #nofilter, if you can. 
  3. Captions are Cool! Try to include a caption of what you were doing or where your photo was taken, just for a bit of context. 
  4. Send me your photo! You can email me at kra1984montana@yahoo.com or at my gmail address if you have that one, text me (if you have my cell phone # already), or post it on Pinterest or Facebook and tag me. 
  5. Deadline: Monday, November 17 by 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time. On Monday, I'll compile all the photos and do another blog post with all of your wintry outdoor scenes! So, this means you have the whole weekend to get out there!
There are no prizes or anything for this-- it's just for fun. Consider this your official call to entry! The idea is simply to bundle up, get outside, have fun, and share your photo! I'm hoping that by Monday, I'll have a whole big long post of fun outside photos that we can all enjoy viewing! If you submit a photo, I'll put it on my blog with only your first name and your caption--unless you want me to link to your blog or something like that!  


To get us all started, here's a photo of my barn, smiling in the winter sunshine:

Can't wait to see what you all submit! Until next week... :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hunting on the HiLine 2014, Volume 4: Week Of Hunting

Last week was the week of hunting around here! Jeff's friend Jeremy (remember him from This Post?) was here for the whole week. He's easy to host and fun to have around. Then, Jeff's Uncle Collin and Aunt Patsy arrived on Sunday and left on Wednesday, also for hunting purposes. They were staying with Tom and Carol, but we all got together in the evenings for meals.

Time was spent in the Lost River Wildlife Management Area and surrounding environs (again, read the post I linked to above for more info) and also in the Sweetgrass Hills, as the two primary hunting areas, with some excursions around old-standby coulees, too.

Because I was at work during the day, I did not go along on any of the hunting day-trips. Thankfully, Jeff shared some of his photos with me, so that's what we'll post on the blog this time, along with some info that Jeff did share with me about how the hunts went.
This photo (above) was from the hike into the Sweetgrass Hills. It had snowed a bit overnight, which typically means it's easier to spot elk. This particular view is looking back from the Hills to the surrounding flat-land. Pretty cool how the Hills just sort of rise up out of the prairie.

They guys actually did spot a group of elk right away, but were unable to take one home with them.
That's Jeff's Uncle Collin looking back at us.
Even though they day resulted in not bringing an elk out of the mountains after all, it sounded like everyone really enjoyed the hiking, as evidenced by the enthusiastic retelling of the day's events over dinner. Jeff said he learned a lot about what to do next time, and also that he just enjoyed being outdoors. He also said that it was cool to see the headwaters of Sage Creek, which is the creek that runs through our family farm, providing fresh drinking water most of the year to our cow herd.
At the bottom of this ravine is a very thin beginning of a creek, fed from a spring.
Thus, Sage Creek is born!
Much of the rest of the week for Jeff and Jeremy was spent driving around some of their usual haunts, looking for deer and elk. They did a lot of driving and A LOT of hiking in the coulees and along the Milk River. By the end of the week, Jeff and Jeremy had reached a number of conclusions about the deer population this year.

First, it appears as though the deer numbers are not actually less, as some around here have said, they're just spending their time in different places. With so much CRP having been taken out in recent years, it makes sense that the deer would seek different places to bed in safety. Namely, the coulee banks and ravines. Jeff is thinking they spend their day in the coulees, then feed on the flat lands at night.

Second, for some reason, there does not appear to be as many large deer in our area this year. Jeff and Jeremy spent significant time surveying the scene, and the deer that Jeff eventually shot on the last day of their hunting week was one of the largest they saw all week.

So, with that all being said, if you're planning on hunting in this area this year, remember two things: You're probably going to have to hike, and you're probably not going to shoot a record buck this year.
Jeff with this year's buck.
Not a record by any means, but not bad given what they saw in our area this year.
Hunting season is not over yet, so there's still time for Jeff to shoot an elk. Jeremy and his wife are coming up again in a few weeks, and they'll be looking for deer still, too. And, on top of all that, we have hardly taken Harvey out bird hunting, either! So, stay tuned for more Hunting on the HiLine updates as the fall hunting season continues!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Roundup!

We had a busy and varied weekend this past weekend, so I thought I'd give you all a brief roundup of the activities!

This was a Bozeman weekend for us, as the Bobcats were at home for football against Portland State. Jeff and I attended the game with friends and family, as usual. Carol snapped this awesome picture of a bunch of us before the game:
Jeremy & Jacynta, Josh & Katie, Jeff and Me
Photo Credit goes to Carol.
The Cats won the game, the weather was great, and we had a nice time. It's always good to spend time with our Bozeman friends and family. We're also really enjoying seeing Katie, my sister-in-law, so frequently as she's nearing the term of her pregnancy. Now, we're just a few weeks away from her due-date! So excited to welcome our nephew to the world very soon!!!

There's just one more regular-season home game left for the Cats, against Idaho State next weekend. After playing Idaho State at home, the Cats will travel to Missoula for the annual Cat/Griz rivalry game.  If the Cats win at least one of the next two games, they should at least be on the bubble for the post-season. If they win both, they should be a lock for the playoffs. We shall see! Neither of their remaining two games will be easy, so we're hoping they can stay sharp and play tough and that we'll see them in the post-season. Go Bobcats!

Saturday morning before the game, I wanted to get some fitness in. Whenever we travel, I always try to be on the lookout for 5Ks and races that I can participate in. This weekend, the Big Sky Wind Drinkers Running Club held a Turkey Trot predictor race. The idea is that you try to predict the time you'll finish the run in--and you can't bring a watch or phone or anything to pace yourself. They had three distances to choose from: 1.3 miles, 2.7 miles, or 4.4 miles. Odd distances, again, to try to make it tougher to guess your time.  To top it off, the courses were hilly, which makes it even tougher to predict times. The three closest people to their predicted time in each distance would win TURKEYS to use for Thanksgiving dinner!

There were about 20 people there, total. Only four people signed up for the 4.4 mile distance, which is the one I did. I was the only female at that distance, and had the slowest predicted time by about ten minutes. I thought about changing to one of the shorter races, just so that people wouldn't have to wait on me to finish, but then stuck to my guns. Since I new the course would be pretty hilly, I predicted a time of 42 minutes. I would have been pretty close, but I had to take a pit-stop during the run to go to the bathroom (who organizes a fun run with no potty access pre-race?!), which probably accounted for the extra time. I finished in 44 minutes. I was the absolute last person to finish at any distance, but I didn't feel bad about my time. In fact, I felt really strong throughout the run, even with some really mondo hills. The guy who guessed his time in the 4.4 mile bracket was within 6 seconds, so it was unlikely I would have been any closer to my time than he was to his, anyway.
All the participants of the Turkey Trot Fun Run, with Bozeman's beautiful Bridger Mountains in the background.
But guess what?! My Adam family tradition of winning door prizes at fun runs and races struck again and I won a turkey anyway, thanks to the random drawing of names of all participants! This is seriously a thing in my family-- we win door prizes. It's uncanny, but cool. One time, between my brother and I, we won over $100 in cash and prizes from another small-town fun run, just to name another example. So, even though I didn't guess my time, I still won a turkey for Thanksgiving! Awesome!!!
Winner, winner!
The best part of the event was simply how encouraging and friendly everyone there was. Even as I held up the show by finishing much later than everyone else, they were lined up at the finish line cheering me on. They were all very welcoming, even though I wasn't a member of their running club. That's what running and racing is all about. A couple of them told me-- "You'll be back!" and they're probably right!

Sunday, the day after the run and the Bobcat game, Jeff and I got up early for the 5 hour drive home. We were intending to be back on the Hi-Line in time for a baby shower I was supposed to go to that afternoon. However, Mother Nature had different plans. The weather system we weren't expecting until overnight on Sunday arrived early-- by mid-day. So, we had to beg out on the baby shower fun and get home to tend to our livestock.

We made it home by mid-afternoon, changed into warm layers, then headed over to Tom and Carol's place, where the herd and corrals are. I felt bad about ditching our friends who still braved weather and crumby roads to go to the baby shower, but this was the right thing to do. The cows had been bunkered into the side of a coulee bank down by the creek, but when they heard us drive into the yard they came running in to the corrals. It was quite a sight to see them charging in at full-tilt from the creek. They were definitely happy to see me and Jeff!
Here's a whole bunch of our cows, waiting to be served some straw to bed in and snack on.
We laid down some straw bedding for them to stay warm as the temperature dipped and the snow drove sideways, and swung some gates so they could get in to the corrals to access running water (AKA- water that wouldn't freeze in sub-zero temperatures). We also fed the bulls a bale of hay. I helped by swinging gates, keeping cows where they were supposed to be, and driving tractor a bit. The cows were very glad to see us, and for the straw. They don't eat straw like they do hay, but they'll munch on it a bit. It's mostly to keep warm and dry. Today, Monday, Jeff went back over and fed them some hay bales.  Truthfully, our cows are pretty spoiled and don't forage much after snow falls-- they're used to being fed hay bales in bad weather. What can I say? We love our animals!

Even though it was snowy and cold, Abby and Harvey were happy to run around in the snow and play outside!
 Abby was so excited to see us that she jumped up on me when I tried to take her photo. She was in her element running around and playing in the snow. She was so happy!
Harvey was having fun, too, but he made it pretty obvious when he was ready to climb back into the tractor or pickup. We left our house in a pretty big hurry, so we forgot to grab his special cold-weather coat. Really, in 15 degrees, wind, and snowfall, I can't blame him for not loving the outdoors. He still got some play-time in though-- he wrestled with Abby, sprinted around in the snow, and chased a few cottontails.

Winter weather has hit Montana. I'm glad for the long fall of warm temperatures and nice days, but now I'm also really looking forward to skiing and snowshoeing. Winter means bundling up all the time, being prepared for icky driving conditions, more livestock chores, but it can also be a wonderful time if one is prepared. I'm excited to get into some winter running and winter recreation!

What were you up to this weekend?