Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Comes Early

Christmas came a little early this year, as we enjoyed a visit from my husband’s parents.  They were here for a little less than a week and the time just flew by.  Here’s a little of what we did during their visit:

Now is the perfect time for viewing bighorn sheep in our area.  They come down off the high mountain peaks over the winter, so they are easy to find and view pretty close up if you know where to look for them.  Mid-December to mid-January is also their breeding season, so you can often see the rams facing off with each other and butting heads while competing over the ewes.  The rams will approach each other and turn their heads at funny angles, kind of showing off their headgear and sizing each other up.  Sometimes that is enough to decide who “wins”, and sometimes they’ll back off a couple paces, rear up and crack their heads together to decide the winner.  Here is a picture I took several years ago:

Hubby’s parents were interested in seeing the sheep (and I always look for an excuse to go and photograph them), so we headed off up the road one afternoon in search of the critters.  We sure got to see a lot!  We found a number of small groups of sheep and a couple larger groups.  

The last group that we saw was the largest by far, and also the most interesting to watch.  There were a number of nice sized rams, including a group of four or five who were all jockeying for position in pursuit of one hot little ewe.  :)  

The ram that is sniffing the ewe was obviously the senior ram in the group.  He was always nearest to the ewe.  None of the others really challenged him, they just followed along behind (hoping for a lucky break, I guess).  We did see the younger rams engage in some face-offs and a little (not serious) head-butting among themselves.  
We watched this group for a little while before heading back to the house.  Besides deer (which we see anytime we drive anywhere, even in town), we also got to see a large bull buffalo.  He eyed us up a little, then turned his butt to us and walked off.  We didn’t hang around too long.  The bulls that winter in this area have been known to total vehicles that get a little too close!

We also hunted for a Christmas tree.  Really hunted.  None of that tree-lot, $7 a foot stuff we did last year.  Eight bucks buys you a permit that allows you to cut any tree up to 20 feet tall, and you have literally thousands of acres of trees to select from.  Oh, and if you want a bigger tree than that, you just have to purchase one more permit for every 10 more feet you want.  I think we’re covered.  
It was cold and the forecast called for a chance of snow, so we bundled up good before heading out.  Here’s what it looked like heading up to the mountain.  I didn’t think the weather looked too promising.  

As we drove up the mountain, we drove into a thick fog.  Although it wasn’t snowing at the time, the roads were snowy.  I’m thinking we picked a great day to do this...  Then, suddenly, we drove through the top of the cloud and found blue skies!  The trees were covered with a thick white hoarfrost.  There were deer on every corner.  It was gorgeous!  Just beautiful.

Here’s our tree!  It was about 10’ tall, but we only used the top 7’.  

We saw lots more deer on the way home, too.

Tree's up!

We had Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa while they were here.  The kids were very excited, and they both loved their gifts.  Then it was time for supper!  The elk roast had been in the crock-pot all day and it was tender and delicious.  
All too soon it was time for them to head back home.  We look forward to seeing them again this summer!


  1. does that mean you shot an elk? :) we had some of matt's deer a few nights ago, which was also delicious. so fun to read your posts...it is clear that you are where your heart is. it is gorgeous out there, but those snowy roads make me perfectly happy here. :) Merry Christmas! ~missy.

    1. No... we didn't go out hunting this year, but we have generous friends that filled our freezer with elk and antelope!


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