30 October 2009

We Finally Made It Back to the Moon

Well, that pretty well sums up our financial situation.

Been gray and rainy/snowy around here. Not much going on.

On this day last year I was making my way to Arizona and stopped for a day in Ogden, Utah. I'd never really seen the great salt lake so we took a tour of Antelope Island.

Salt Lake & Antelope Island

It is a rather impressive place.

The island used to be a private ranch that was eventually acquired by the state.

These days they run a herd of buffalo.

I've just about gotten Clementine cleared out for the winter. After two winters away I really got a lot of stuff jammed into her. Poor girl is going to have to stand out there in the cold for six months.

29 October 2009

Lou Dobbs-The Soul of Our Country

I think I must be one of the most fortunate people on this planet. A lot of that has to do with the country in which I live.

I love nature and spend as much time out in it as I possibly can. I try in my humble way to show nature the way I see it with my photography. There are many beautiful places on this globe. Natural beauty is everywhere. My good neighbors in Canada have some of the best the world has to offer. What is unique is the United States. There has never been anything like it in human history. Because I live here I fear that I sometimes take things for granted.

Banff Autumn

I have noted before my concern about the direction this country is taking. Today I saw this You Tube video of Lou Dobbs show tapped on the 26th of October. It really got my attention. Lou Dobbs. In my opinion Lou Dobbs is a pretty mild mannered fellow. Yes, he is conservative but should that get a bullet through your window? If so I had better be putting bullet proof glass the look at my beautiful view.

The View

This video is very much worth a listen as a reminder that if you appreciate this country you need to pay attention and speak out if things don't seem right. People speaking out and standing up are what keeps us from tyranny. I for one shoot e-mails of to my elected officials whenever an issue comes up.

I'm really concerned. I think everyone should be.

©Kinsey Barnard

28 October 2009

Andre Agassi - Time for Studs

Well another of my heroes bites the dust. Andre Agassi apparently admits in his new autobiography that he used crystal meth. Andre Agassi. I just loved that kid!

I'm really conflicted about the "truth". On the one hand, truth and honesty are a good thing; on the other it leaves no room for heroes. Looking back it seems as though almost all those I admired, both historically and in my lifetime, had feet of clay. In fact, as I look back it seems most of the things I believed in were manufactured baloney.

Snowed most of the morning.

White Tail Sitting Out the Storm

Normally I don't get my studded snow tires put on until the middle of November but after looking at the Weather Channel forecast I decided discretion was the better part of valor. I've got a nasty patch of road I must traverse and it can get pretty ugly real fast.

Koty had to stay home and he is never very pleased about that. Poor kid. Hunting season began this past weekend and he is very gun shy and doesn't really feel safe even in the house. Ironically, what he likes to do is get in his crate in the car. There didn't seem to be the normal numbers of hunters out and about so that helps.

The sun came out later in the afternoon and Koty and I took a walk in our sanctuary. It was really quite beautiful.

A Little Sunshine

©Kinsey Barnard

27 October 2009

Oath Keepers

I'm pretty dismayed by the things that I see going on in this country. But this morning I became aware of something that gives me hope. It is the Oathkeepers. These folks obviously take their oath seriously and that oath says that they will protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic.

It's hard for me to even conceive of discussing the possibility of domestic enemies. But, I think there is a real threat to our freedom brewing. As I look at the view out my window I pray for all of us.

The View

For those that do not know, Oathkeepers are both police officers
and military members who have reaffirmed their oath to
uphold the U.S. Constitution, and who have taken a solemn
oath that they will not follow orders to turn on the
American people.

This is their oath...

The Oath

1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.

2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people

3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.

4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.

5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.

6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.

7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.

8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."

9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.

10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

And the "Three Percenters" are police officers and soldiers
who have decided they will draw a line in the sand here
and now, against any further moves against the 2nd Amendment
and any move to confiscate guns from law abiding Americans.

They symbolically represent the 3% of American colonists
who actually stood up and fought against the Kings tyranny
during the American Revolution...

Keepers In Iraq

26 October 2009

Slash and Burn!

October 08, 2009

A wee bit nippy this morning, 27. It was a cloudless night and the moon lit everything up like daytime. I tried to spy those pesky bears in the apple trees but they weren’t about.

This was a scheduled working in the woods day. I started burning some of my slash piles and cut up another couple of trees. Some of the fun is gone out of my forest job as it has now gone from a beautification to a salvage job.

Burning Slash

When I first moved here, seven years ago, I had a long time logger do some logging for me and he also built a pond. He was kind of a curmudgeon and clearly disdainful of tinhorns such as myself. He told me what I should do was clear-cut the whole piece. I thought at the time he was just trying to get my goat. But, now, I’m not so sure. I wonder if he already new what was going on with the health of the forest. I suspect this is all part of a natural cleansing operation. The populations of anything get to crowded they grow weak and vulnerable. Nature has Her way of culling the crop. I suspect it will happen to us one day.


I don't know if this lichen is the cause or the effect. The effect I think. You can tell which trees are on their way by the level of lichen as it creeps up the trees.

Gold closed at another historic high today around $1,055. I should be delighted about this as I invested in gold companies many years ago. I’m not in the least bit happy about it. This high gold price is not saying anything good about what is in store for us.

Last night, around 9:00 pm, the wind kicked up again. I used to think how lucky I was that the wind seldom blew up here. These days it seems like it blows all the time. As I relaxed in my recliner I could see sparks flying from one of the slash piles.

I have a very healthy respect for fire (the word fear would work as well). So even though the fires were burned down to ash piles I was compelled to investigate up close. I donned my cold gear and with flashlight in hand I set off into the night. I was kind of hoping the bears weren’t out. If they were they didn’t advertise.

As I trudged through the dark it started snow and that was a relief. I looked over both piles and satisfied myself they would be ok to leave on their own.

I’m pooped tonight. I did hard labor for over four hours and that’s quite enough for this old broad.

©Kinsey Barnard

Some fun facts:

# The original title of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions.

# America purchased Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 (about 2 cents an acre).

# Most automobile trips in the US are under 5 miles.

# In 1924, a Ford automobile cost $265.

# The high roofs of London taxicabs were originally designed to keep gentlemen from knocking off their top hats as they entered and left the vehicles.

# In 1915, the average annual family income in the United States was $687 a year.

24 October 2009

Weather & Earthquakes

October 07, 2009

Woke up to a little snow on the ground. It was forecast. Temperature is in the high thirties.

A Little Fall Snow

More photo editing this morning. It’s turned grey and gloomy.

Low Clouds

Around noon we headed down to town to pick up the mail and got to the bank. I packed up the cameras and planned to walk along the Tobacco River. The clouds were all the way down to the foot of the Galton’s.

By the time we got to town it was raining. Had to abort the walk. We might have seen something like this ...

10-07-08 Tobacco River

We headed straight back to the ranch where it was snowing and thirty-two degrees. Bah humbug!

Should have gone later. This afternoon it was sunny and beautiful. Topped out at nearly fifty.

Sunny Afternoon

They will tell you, just about anywhere you go in the Rockies, if you don't like the weather wait ten minutes. It really is true.

Big earthquakes out in the Pacific with tsunami warnings attached. Seems like there have been an awful lot of earthquakes lately.

Here’s an interesting site where you can see all the earthquakes all over the world. Earthquake Map

©Kinsey Barnard

23 October 2009

Water Filters & Dollar Woes

October 06, 2009

All was quiet this morning. No bears about. The temp was about 34 degrees but there is frost on the roof and the meadow.

Gold was up this morning over $20 on news that China, Russia and France are planning on replacing the dollar for their oil trading. Gold is at it’s all time historic high. Demise of the Dollar As I sit here on my mountain I seriously wonder what our fate, as a country, is to be. The government is clearly out of control. I fear America as I have known it is slowly slipping away.

When I was in high school I had a history teacher, Nathan Weston Blanchard III, he was kind of a kooky old fellow but quite wise I always thought. He said that all empires eventually fall and that America would be no different. I never forgot his words and now it seems it is all coming true.

Went below and checked water filter. As I had hoped it has stopped leaking on it’s own. Only leaked about a quarter of a cup before stopping. That’s a relief.

Water Filter Replaced

Spent most of the morning editing and cataloging.

After lunch Koty and I took a walk around our sanctuary. I am very sad as it looks to me as though the entire forest is dying. Even the aspen, cottonwood and birch look sick. Their fall foliage is drab and unappealing. There is something very strange going on in the woods. I know all about the spruce beetles, the fir beetles and the root rot but somehow I feel there is more to it although I have no idea what.


©Kinsey Barnard

22 October 2009

Home Again

October 03, 2009

Finally made it back to the ranch. Boy, were we glads to get home. Koty likes to travel but he likes being home better. So, do I.

Everything seemed to be in good order.

We had a white tail welcoming committee on hand. Which always makes us feel at home.

White Tail Committee

Getting home was the biggest thing we did this day.

©Kinsey Baranrd

19 October 2009

National Bison Range-10-02-09

Headed straight for the Bison Range. The Range is one of my favorite places. When I got there I checked in at the center and saw a sign saying "Free Today". Made no never mind to me. I always have a park pass. I certainly have gotten my money's worth out of it this year. I think I've been to about seven or eight national parks this year.

I soon found out the reason for the sign. No buffalo viewing today as they were moving the herd and they were out of bounds. Good grief, I've been turned back everywhere I have gone this trip. But, as I walked back to Clem I hear an elk bugle and knew all was not lost. I soon found the old boy wandering along Mission Creek

Bull Elk

A little further down the creek I found a troop of white tail deer.

White Tail Buck

The other animal that you will see a lot of on this range are pronghorn. Pronghorn are the only antelope we have on this continent and they are the second fastest land mammal. Only the cheetah is faster. They are really fun to watch. You can't believe how fast they are and they can turn on a dime.

Pronghorn Buck

This little fella didn't have much of a rack but he did have a harem.

Pronghorn Does

This one cracks me up!

Smiling Pronghorn

She looks like she's smiling doesn't she? It also looks like the picture has been Photo Shopped. It hasn't been. I don't use Photo Shop. Probably the only photographer on the planet who doesn't. What I think is going on here is when pronghorn are uncertain they blow air through their mouths. It puffs up their cheeks and parts their lips.

This is My Favorite Pronghorn Image

The trick, at least for me, in shooting wildlife is to capture them in a landscape setting. I bill myself as a nature and wildlife photographer but what I really am is a landscape photographer who gets lucky enough now and again to find a beautiful wild thing in the landscape. Such moments are not easy to come by.

Timing in life is everything and whilst I'm certain I took some nice shots of stock quality I have my doubts that I took any that will find their way into the limited edition portfolio.

Ansel Adams said that if he got 12-15 photographs it was a very good year. That's about my rate. I probably take four or five thousand photos each year which is nothing in the digital age. But, I still practice the same economy of shooting I did when I was shooting $15 Velvia. Oh, maybe I am a little less careful but not much. I don't believe in firing for effect just because it's free. When I find a shot I like I generally take a couple of backup shots from different angles. Nine times out of ten the first shot is THE shot.

By my definition, photographs are few and far between. Pictures are as common as dirt.

On the way out I saw the Bull elk again. He saw me too.

Bull Elk

There are great views of the Mission Mountains. I was looking at their backside when we were at Holland Lake

Mission Creek is also quite picturesque.

Mission Creek

I did see a little fall color. Little being the operative word.

A Little Fall Color

©Kinsey Barnard

16 October 2009

On the Road Again-Winter in October?

October 01, 2009

The first order of business: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAKOTA SUNRISE! Today is Koty's tenth birthday. It's hard to believe I have been blessed with the company of this incredible creature for ten years. He is such a joy and inspiration.

People are constantly coming up to Koty to admire his beauty and ask how old he is. For the longest time I told them the truth and they seemed disappointed. Now I tell them he is four and their eyes light up and they say "That's what I thought!". Koty, he is My Best Friend

We said our farewells to the folks at Yellowstone Country and headed out.

On the Road Again

For pity sakes! you would have thought it was January 1st as opposed to October first from the looks of things.

Heading west on I-90 these were some of the scenes that paved our way.

It was hard to imagine that it was only October. These ranches looked like Christmas cards.

We had to make a stop in Bozeman to pick up a new air filter. We were to to go to Billion Dodge/Jeep to get it. Here we had another perfectly lovely experience. The parts guy who sold me the filter also came out and got himself dirty putting it in. The filter in these Sprinters is not easy to get at.

When we left Billion I missed my turn to get back to the freeway and ended up down a country road. All was not lost as I got a chance to see this pretty red barn. I love red barns and old barns!

Red Barn in Bozeman

Back on the road we headed for Missoula, only a couple of hundred miles but I decided it was as far as I wanted to go. It would also put me in a good place to get to the National Bison Range in the morning.

We stopped at Jim & Mary's RV Park and passed a very quiet and pleasant evening. I took Koty for a birthday walk and we called it a day.

©Kinsey Barnard

15 October 2009

Yellowstone Country Chrysler-Livingston, Montana

September 30, 2009

The first brilliant thing I did this morning was overload the dealers circuit and blew the breaker. Completely forgot I was on 110.

Obviously, I didn't have an appointment and the guesstimate was that they would not be able to Clem until the afternoon. I would have liked to walk around old town Livinsgton ad taken some shots but it was too rainy.

We just hung out in Clem working in Lightroom and reading. At around four o'clock we got the knock. Once she got in to see the doctor it didn't take long to get the diagnosis and repair. It turned out a part which they called a "turbo muffler" had split and caused the problem. The whole thing took less than an hour and cost me nothing. The 110 mile and the repairs were under Chrysler's warranty.

The thing that really frosted me was I was told that they had never seen a more filthy air filter. How could that be? I just had had Clem serviced at Kari Dodge in Kalispell. Admittedly, it was a bad experience see (Day One). It seems the tech at Kari had never even looked at the air filter. He was too busy charging me to "remove the tires" to check the air pressure. I strongly advise you avoid Kari Dodge like the plague if you are ever in need of auto service in Kalispell. I know I will never grace their door again.

But, Yellowstone Country, that's an entirely different story. It's been a very long time since I have been treated as well. These people know the meaning of the word service. From the time I was welcomed by Jeremiah, the evening the tow truck dropped me, to my farewell I was treated like long lost family. People could not have been more courteous or helpful.

Dave, the service manager kept me updated on how things were looking. I don't mind waiting my turn if people will just let me know where things stand. These guys believe in communicating and I really appreciated it. My only regret is that they are so far away. If they weren't I would never take Clementine anywhere else.

I didn't get to interact much with Mark who was the technician but I have every confidence Clem could not have been in better hands.

Mark and Dave

I wish I had gotten a picture of Clem in the shop but I am worthless as you know whats on a boar when it come to photographing anything other than nature. I just never think of it.

If you ever find yourself near Livingston, Montana with car trouble this is the place you want to go Yellowstone Country Chrysler- Ford

©Kinsey Barnard

14 October 2009

Yellowstone to Liviingston the Hard Way 09-29-09

Today God must be apoplectic with laughter see (Making God Laugh).

Since there were no places for photo ops that I could take Koty with we packed our bags and headed out. Looking forward to fall colors and new territory for photography. So we head out in the early morning, with great anticipation, to 191. Visions of Spanish Trails dance in my head. About a mile out of town I spy one of those electric flashing signs, which says "191 closed to through traffic due to construction". I could not believe my luck. There was nothing I could do but head back the way I came on 287 and the Madison River.

As we came on Hebgen Lake I saw horsemen and cattle being moved. Most of the cowboys were too far away but I was able to get this photo of a Montana cowboy. This is a real Montana picture to me.

Montana Cowboy

On we went to Ennis and at Ennis we took 287 west through Virginia City and Nevada City, two old ghost towns, both were closed up tighter than a tick. This is one of my favorite images from Nevada City Gallows Barn & Stage. There's a pretty good grade just outside of Ennis and Clementine seemed kind of sluggish. Normally, she climbs mountains like a gazelle with Shadow in tow. Today there was no Shadow and she seemed to struggle. I paid it no never mind.

We continued up 287, along the Ruby River, to Twin Bridges where 287 turns into 41. We followed 41 north along the Jefferson River. I thought this was some very pretty country. I think it's called the Tobacco Root Valley.

Tobacco Root Valley

At the junction of 41 and 2 I decided to take 2 which was to be my Waterloo. 2 is a twisty, two lane road that goes up over the Continental Divide and into Butte from the south. All went well until we started climbing in earnest. Clem went from sluggish to utterly poop less. I had the pedal to the floor and she was winding 800 RPMs and doing about 12 miles per hour. I put on the flasher and we limped up the Divide.

When I got into Butte I stopped at the Dodge dealer. But, more good luck they were not certified to work on Sprinters. The fellow suggest I drive a little on the flat and see if maybe it would work itself out. I drove for a little while and things seemed to be ok.

I headed out on I-90. Right off the bat there is a pretty good grade. Wham! Clem pooped out again and this time the check engine light came on. My luck was good in that there is a weigh station at the top of the grade so I pulled in. I have AAA but I decided to try the Chrysler emergency service. They were very responsive and a tow truck was there in under forty-five minutes.

The driver told me we had a two hour trip east to Livingston. Livingston? That's going backwards! The driver told me that's because t was closest. He spent the next two hours telling me how I should have called AAA, who he also had a contract with, as they would have let me be towed to Missoula, which is in the right direction. Koty rode in Clem all by himself and didn't seem to mind at all. He sat in his co-pilot's seat for a while then took a nap. That dog. He is so flexible and tolerant. I'd do well to learn from him.

Anyway, we ended up at Yellowstone Country Chrysler in Livingston.

Poor Clem

As it turned out I had done precisely the right thing by calling Chrysler. Yellowstone Country is the only certified Sprinter repair shop in Montana. Had I been towed to Missoula I would have either been towed back to Livingston or to Kellog, Idaho.

By the time we got there the shop was already closing for the day. So, I set Clem up and made myself some "Montana Tea" see (Montana Tea). Whilst I was sitting on my steps drinking my tea another tow truck pulled up with a big Dodge diesel and camper on a flat bed. They unloaded right beside us.

It turned out my fellow strandees were Roy and Mary from Redding, CA. We got acquainted very quickly and they invited me over for a tamale and enchilada dinner. No offense to my beloved Montana but real California Mexican is something I do miss. We had a great time.

I had planned on camping at Spanish Creek this evening but instead I am camped out in a car dealers parking lot in Livingston. All things considered it was the best of a bad situation.

©Kinsey Barnard

13 October 2009

Yellowstone-September 28, 2009

It was a balmy 25 degrees this morning. Clem's batteries held up over night. I think I may have been right. They just needed some exercise.

It was 7:30 am before we got out into the park and quite smokey but we never say die. And, as it turned out it was a pretty productive morning. What Mother Nature takes away with haze she gives back with steam.

Fire Hole River

The cold weather really brought the steam out and made for some very nice opportunities. If you're patient and don't give up things will come into view.

Morning Steam

As usual, Koty was less than inspired. He does not care for National Parks because All he gets to do most of the time is ride shotgun. For a busy boy this is shear torture which can only be alleviated by a good snooze.

On Strike

WE went back down the road as far as Black Sand Basin. Because of the smokey haze, I suppose, there wasn't much of interest so we headed back to Fire Hole Drive where we were treated to some very beautiful scenes.

Mystic Morning

It was so bleeding cold but if it had not been these photos would not have been possible. It's funny how I don't seem to be able to get enough of beautiful scenery. I am well and truly addicted. Why else would I be out here freezing my arse off?

Great Fountain Geyser

You can find the Great Fountain Geyser on the Fire Hole Lake Drive. I saw it yesterday and it certainly didn't look like this!

Buffalo Boy

Just as we were leaving Fire Hole Drive we ran smack dab into Buffalo Boy grazing right along the road.

By this time the morning was completely gone and I was once again pooped. I was also ready for a full service RV Park so we headed for West Yellowstone and the Grizzly RV Park. Very nice park by the way. We right away found a place to hike into the woods and I got the idea I should ask the people in the office if there was any access to the Madison where I could walk with my dog. I was told absolutely and given directions. I figured t would be the perfect place to head in the morning.

Whilst we were wandering around town we were stopped by a local couple who it turned out raise huskies. They told me about some good camping spots up 191 and I put it on my agenda, sounded ideal.

West Yellowstone, MT

All around the town there are these buffalo that artists have painted. I thought they were awfully nice so I swiped an image.

After dinner I decided to see if we could find the trailhead of the trail I had been told about. Well, I found it and there was a great big sign saying no dogs. I tell ya I have to wonder about people. That changed everything. We headed home to get packed up for a morning departure.

I wasn't too disappointed because I had a Plan B, just head on up 191.

©Kinsey Barnard

11 October 2009

Ennis to West Yellowstone September 27, 2009

We continued our journey toward West Yellowstone following 287 and the Madison River. The Madison is a also a very pretty river and it was loaded with fishermen.

I made one stop along the way at the "Beaver Ponds". Didn't see any beavers but I thought I saw some beauty there.

Beaver Ponds

The park seemed pretty crowded and I soon found out why, the road to the North Entrance was closed due to construction. We headed directly to the Madison Campground. It had plenty of spaces available.

After checking into the campground I thought I had a very clever idea. I would drive up the closed road a way and then give Koty a good walk on a road that was not likely to have much traffic.

I was really thinking we could walk a long way with some privacy. Well, there weren't too many cars but about a mile and a half up the road had a barrier and said to walking in either. Drat!

Hot Springs

On the way Koty had his first run in with a hot spring. He jump off the road to get a drink and had a very sudden surprise. We did see a lonely bull buffalo grazing along the Gibbon River. Not a photograph kind of thing.

So, the I thought "Ok, we'll go down to West Thumb and then up". Our first stop was Black Sand Basin where we found this somewhat colorful pool.

Opalescent Pool

By the time we got down to the West Thumb turn-off there was a great big fire raging and the road was closed. At this point about two-thirds of the park was out of bounds. Foiled again.


So, back north we headed. We took a side trip on Fire Hole Lake drive. It turned out to be pretty cool.

Primordial Oyster

There were a number of colorful pools and I could see that there might be some very nice opportunities with morning light. I made a note for a reprise.

Primordial Ooze

Unfortunately, you may not be able to see the mystery in the photo below but there was like a glow that came up from this pool that look surreal. It kinda looked like maybe it was a mystical portal.

Mystical Pool

I never get to be in a picture so I could resist taking one. I've tried to get Koty to do it but he refuses.

Self Portrait

We also stopped in at Fire Hole Falls where I took a series of perfectly ordinary and boring pictures.

We capped off the day with another trip up the closed road to Norris. I thought maybe in the setting sun the old bull might present an image there along the Gibbon. He was still there only lying down. I walked all around him. Called him any number of names. And do you think the old sod would get up? Not on your life. He had heard it all before.

I did find this little gem. Well, I think it's a gem. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

Islands in the Stream

It has been a very long day and I'm ready for the campground. The spaces are just little turn outs and ours was full of ashes. Koty is now, very happily, a grey and black dog.