Who knew that Bison was so controversial?

Have started implementing some changes at work. Had the first morning stand-up with my team. Overall it was a work day. It started snowing really hard. Like an inch an hour. Went to a baby shower for a coworker. Really nice turn out and was fun. The cake was amassing to see and tasted very good. Sorry the picture is blurry. I am posting it anyway so you can get an idea of how great it was. Everything on it was cake except the baby rattles. The bear was made with rice crispy treats.

Went to the bison in winter discussion. It was really good and I learned a lot. Many groups with strong passions about bison. One group thinks that no effort should be taken to contain the bison. They want them to roam free all over Montana, even the major cities if the bison wanted to go there. Another group thinks they should not be contained, but that people should be allowed to hunt them once they leave the park. Another group thinks that the population should be controlled by taking some to slaughter.  Yet another group thinks that the extra or any that try to leave the park should be captured and given to a Native American Indian group in north east Montana that is building a herd with the plan to repopulate all Native American reservations across the US with bison herds. Given all that you have the biologists that are trying to understand what the bison want and how to provide a good home for the bison with the least amount of politics as possible. I also learned that it is very hard for a wolf pack or a bear to take down a bison and that more bison die drowning than from predators each year.  Seems the bison get used to walking on the lakes and rivers during winter and the when spring comes a few break through the ice and drown. The grizzly bears pull them out of the water to eat them.

Was “fun” driving home in the little scooter car. Missed the turn for my road again. Well didn’t miss it. Applied the brakes for what I thought was early enough and then slid past my turn. Made it up the hill fine. Weather calling for 40% chance of snow every day for the next week. Will be taking the BMW in the AM.

Really bad morning

As the alarm clock went off and I started opening my eyes at just the right angle with the ceiling it caused my mind to think I was back in Smyrna. In that split second my mind thought a was waking from a crazy dream. The way the covers were I thought Janet was to the right of me and a cat was at the foot of the bed. I was so excited as I rolled and reached to put my arm around Janet. Since I had no where to really reach and my mind was processing the other things coming into view, it felt like a ton of bricks hit me when I realized Janet was not there. It was a feeling that when deep into my gut. I had to pull myself together and get to work for an all day broadband discussion. It was a hard day.

At the end of the day I found an envelope that had been slid under my office door. It was my first paycheck. That created some high and low emotions. Time to go home.

I felt like the elk were taunting me on the drive up the hill to my house. This picture was taken while I was sitting in the car with no zoom at all. Had another one on the other side of the car too.  Maybe they were starring at each other, but it felt like they were both starring at me with a “stupid human” glare.

Too messed up to eat dinner. Worked some more and checked personal email. Looked at my phone and saw that somehow I missed a call from Janet and her message said she was going to bed. I was so mad at myself for missing her call. How could I have missed her call? Outside an elk is shaking his head at me….

Blue skies

Another work day. It was a very clear day so the views were amazing.

Some people from Denver came in. Talked with them and had dinner together. It was a nice time.

Emotions were a little raw that night. Got home to find I had W-2 year end info from Home Depot. Trying to not let it bother me.

A work day

Drove the work car today. The low tire pressure indicator came on. I did a visual check of the tires and all seemed well. Went on to work. Checked about self serve for air and was told it was at the transportation department in Gardiner (reminder my office is in Mammonth Springs).  I am having a run of luck with cars in Montana. I needed to get a gas card as well so made plans to go to the transportation office in the afternoon. Received my gas card and schooled on how to use it. They also had me bring the car into the shop. One of the mechanics checked the tires and gave them some additional air. I felt ridiculous. I asked them about how I could do it myself going forward. If I can’t check the air and add when needed in Montana I think they will take my “man card” away.

Work was a work day. Emails, meetings, phone calls were all to be done. I worked late and had dinner in the employee cafeteria so I could attend the cougar discussion. Well it turns out that the cougar expert was a government employee so the talk was canceled. What is the world coming too…..

On the drive home the tires were good. I did see a coyote and a huge fox on the drive home so that was a win. When I got close to home it started snowing hard. Will have to check the weather in the AM to see which car to drive tomorrow.

The Door Strikes Back

The elk said hi at my bedroom window this Sunday morning.

Going out for church this morning it was cold and my driver door would not open. I crawled over from the passenger side. I am sure my neighbors think I am crazy.

This was the view at the end of my road about to turn on the road to town.

The door opened from the inside fine. Bible study and church was good. These are the views coming out of church.

Back at home I can open the car door fine from inside, but no go from outside. If the weather stays sunny I will take the work car on Monday. That door is killing me.

Broomball

Well I am settling into my Saturday waffle route. They were good. Spent some time sorting out what to wear and what to take for my first ever broomball game.  It is basically hockey on snow with brooms and a small soccer ball. That’s me in the back wearing the awesome brown Duluth jacket that Katie and David gave me for Christmas.

Here is a small clip of the game.

I wish I had three items on video, but unfortunately I don’t.  First I assisted on scoring a goal. Super excited about getting a goal in my first game. My team did go on to lose that game. Secondly was the cartoon perfect ice slip I made. Running I hit a patch of ice. Both feet went straight out in front of me and I was parallel with the ground for a moment. Then I crashed to earth. Luckily I didn’t hit my head, but my tush really felt it. Good thing I got Advil during the stock up with Janet. During the second game I got a goal from the other side of the “field”. I hit a power shot in while most were waiting for me to miss it the first time. It went by everyone and into the goal. This gave me a chance to share a southern saying, “even a blind hog will root up an acorn every now and then”.  We played for three hours. I am going to be sore.

After the game I used my employee discount to buy a pair of YakTracx to help with not slipping on ice.

Wish I was going home to see Janet and tell her all about my day. I had a lot of fun and was happy. Now I am sad on the drive home. Actually did a video call with Janet. It was so great to see her. I don’t think I can put the emotions into words that I felt seeing her. I know we have been talking and texting daily, but seeing her lovely face made me tear up. I even got to see some of the cats.

Government Shutdown

While I will keep working since I am with a private company. The company I am with made some agreements with the National Park Service to keep the park open during the shutdown. I do really see first hand how people and the community are impacted from a government shutdown. Before I saw it as an inconvenience. It is way more real to me now. Snow coaches will have to carry garage bags and toilet paper because the public restrooms will not be serviced. Roads that are not deemed as critical will not be plowed by the government. At my office 911 will work, but someone will only come out if it is truly a life and death matter. People don’t know if they will be paid for the days the government is shutdown, which can have a big impact in such a small community of only about 900 people. If they do get paid, it could be months from now. With this exposure a government shutdown went from something that didn’t really matter to me to something I feel a lot of passion about.

Government DO YOUR JOB and get a budget!

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Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Well today I got to see more of the weather everyone has been talking about. You know it is bad when roads start closing in Wyoming, but it is lovely. 

View outside my office window.

Received my company car. I think it was a bad idea to drive it today, but it was just a little rain when I left the house. I stopped off at a men’s prayer breakfast. The food was good and had a good discussion about loyalty and what it means to be loyal to Christ.

Had a nice dinner with some people from work at a new restaurant. They were working the kinks out for how they handled the survive.  The food was good and dinner helped to break up the white knuckle drive home. After dinner I stopped at the post office to check my box for the first time. I put one foot out of the car and started to go out with the other when the first foot went in the air. I plopped back in my car seat. The parking lot was nothing but ice. Back on the road and getting close to the turn for my road. I slowed down and started applying the break for what I thought would have been enough distance.  I was wrong. I slid by the road and past the mailbox after the road. Luckily no one was on the road so I put it in reverse and backed up to my turn. Now for the hill that goes to the sky. I started and made it about 2/3 up and the car stopped. I backed up and tried again multiple times. No go. I ended up backing the car all the way back down the hill. Did I mention it was dark and one side has a sheer drop? Made it back to the bottom. I literally put my foot on the gas all the way to the floor. I am weaving and bumping up the hill at 25 miles an hour. sliding around all the way (sheer drop reminder). As I top the hill to have a level drive with my foot all the way to the floor I am doing a massive 6-8 miles an hour. I make it to my house thanking God I am still alive. Saying it will get down to 19 tonight and 7 tomorrow night.  Think I will be driving the SUV the rest of the weekend.

Missing Buffalo

Yellowstone Investigates Illegal Release of 52 Park Bison From Quarantine. I saw these and was thinking could it be?

Sure enough, later that day I received a memo that some of the missing buffalo had been found in our area.

That night I went to “Bears in Winter” class. Learned that the park area has  about 700 grizzly bears and 500 black bears. Some interesting things I found out were that bears hibernate due to food shortage not due to winter. Polar bears for example hibernate in summer because food is better in the winter. A bear can sleep for 7 months straight without ever waking up, but can also come out of hibernation within a couple of minutes if it hears you from the den. Old lazy male grizzlies can hibernate with one side against a curve of a mountain and the other side of his body covered in snow. It was very informative.