Wednesday, January 30, 2019

2019 Ely Bristlecone Birkebeiner

 January means it's time for the Ely Bristlecone Birkebeiner race. This is a fantastic cross-country ski race held at Ward Mountain near Ely, Nevada sponsored by the Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts. The Birkebeiner race is named after a 12th century treacherous journey through the forests and over the mountains of Norway to help protect the 2-year old heir to the throne.

Ely held this race many years ago and then it went into a hiatus. The Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts brought it back. Here are posts from the 2016 Birkebeiner, the 2017 Birkebeiner, and the 2018 Birkebeiner.

 Desert Girl couldn't wait to warm up.

Desert Girl was then willing to take photos of the Adult race.  I was so excited that I got my skis crossed right away and got stuck. Then I was laughing so hard it took me awhile to figure it all out.

Fortunately, I did get it figured out.

We went up. And then we went around a lovely loop. I don't have photos of any of it, because I was really competing this year. I was trying to go as fast as I could, and let me tell you, cross-country skiing can really get your heart pumping! Fortunately, Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts have many more photos on their Facebook page.  

This year the race included not only cross-country skiing, but also snow-shoeing and fat-tire mountain biking. I thought it was pretty cool for all three to be finishing about the same time (they started different times and had different routes). 

 Soon it was time for the kids' race. They lined up. And then they were off!

Desert Girl likes costumes. One year she wore a tutu. This year she wanted a bright red cape.

The kids had a sweet downhill to get to the finish.

Desert Boy had a better pair of skis this year, and they worked a lot better for him.

Isaac looked a little out of control coming down the hill, but it was his dad who crashed. It was all in good fun.

And he made it to the finish in good spirits.

There were a couple nice fire pits to help keep participants and observers warm.

We had a large contingent from Snake Valley. And we did quite well. For the women's long race, we won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. For the men's long race, we got 3rd. And for kids, we got 2nd and 3rd. Way to represent!

The addition of Shorty's Food Truck was fantastic. All the participants got some delicious chili included with the race sign up. We also sampled their delicious sandwiches afterwards. Yum!

Well, it was a great event, and we are already looking forward to next year. Thank you, Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts, for giving us a good reason to get outside!

Monday, January 21, 2019

January 2019 Lunar Eclipse

 I was eagerly anticipating the January 20, 2019 Lunar Eclipse. But then I looked at the forecast. Clouds. Possibility of snow. It wasn't looking so good! We spent part of the afternoon at the Fire and Ice Festival at Cave Lake in Ely, and it was cloudy the whole time. Oh well, don't stress over what you can't control, right?

When we got home, we had a beautiful sunset, lighting up clouds to the east. We couldn't see the full moon rise. But an hour later, the moon was peeking through the clouds. And then more stars appeared. Hurray! I started with a photo of the full moon (above). Before long, the earth's shadow started encroaching on the moon.

I really, really wanted to get an epic photo of the eclipse, mainly something in front of the moon. But the moon was so high in the sky, that made it difficult. I could get some tree branches in front of the moon and thought that looked kind of cool. 

As the eclipse progressed, the winds picked up. That made it really hard to get a low light exposure without some blur. I tried all sorts of camera settings to capture the reddish color the moon was turning. I called out the family so we could all look at it through binoculars. It was awesome!

My editing software decided not to work, so that made it even more complicated. So these aren't final photos, but since I don't know when I'll get it up and working, better to post now before I forget!

I really enjoyed watching the eclipse. 
In fact, I'd go so far to say it was worth a "STOP" to check it out! Ha, ha. 
If you had a chance to watch the eclipse, I hope you enjoyed it! If not, maybe these photos will help give a sense of what was happening way up there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

More from the White Pine County Fair

I'm cleaning up photos and realized I still had a few things to post about! One is the County Fair. In addition to the animals the kids took to the fair, they also participated in some other events. One was the bicycle competition. It was their first year competing in it. They ride their bikes every day in summer, so it seemed like a natural.

Only four kids showed up, so they all won prizes.

Desert Boy also participated throughout the summer in 4-H Shooting Sports. This is a great program that teaches kids how to shoot safely. Archery was up first, and we had about seven kids from our club participate. (They had to do several rounds of shooting for all the kids to participate.)

They all did well. The next night was shooting, and we unfortunately missed that. But Desert Boy just bought his own .22 Crickett rifle, so he is so excited to participate this year.

Thursday night before the fair is always a bit chaotic as the kids do their homework and then try to round up their fair projects. (Our school schedule is a bit wonky with the fair schedule, as we don't follow the same schedule as the rest of the county, so the kids start school before the fair and then have to take a day off to go attend it.) Here's Desert Girl getting some flower arrangements ready.

On Friday, after turning in exhibits and being interviewed and making sure their animals are squared away, the kids do Skillathon. It's a matching quiz for each animal about body parts, breeds, and in some cases food they eat or what the cuts of meat they become are.

The kids aren't always fond of it because it's a little like school, but it's good for them to know this stuff, so I made Desert Boy do several. They're required to do the animal they show. They get ribbons (and thus money) for each one they do, so it's really a win-win.

And I think it makes them appreciate their animals more. They show their animals on Saturday morning for both market competition and showmanship.

After showing animals, the Exhibit Barn opens at about 10 am. There's always great excitement to see how they did. Desert Girl did great with her flower arrangements (it helped that very few kids enter).

She also did great with her photography.

Desert Boy entered more in the 4-H category than the Open Class category (there is some strategy to where you enter things if you want bigger ribbons). Here he is showing his grand champions for Nevada Weeds and Electricity.

And he got a reserve grand champion for his Western metalcraft project of a horseshoe coat rack.

The fair isn't all about the exhibits. The pie-eating contest is so exciting for the kids.

I remember when I was a kid and I enjoyed the blueberry pie contests at my local fair (blueberries were ripe just at fair time, yum!).

Since Desert Girl is still a Cloverbud, she's not old enough to compete in 4-H market lambs, but she was just fine to compete in Open Class, where she got a reserve grand champion. That made up for the tears of having an uncooperative lamb for showmanship.

She also brought a couple chickens to the fair, including her favorite, Bobblehead, an Ameracauna hen that laid green eggs.

We learned we still have more to learn about chickens.

But she still got a grand for Bobblehead! She was very happy. Bobblehead has since been eaten by an owl, and we are down to three chickens (from eight this summer), so we plan on getting some chicks this spring (which makes Desert Girl very happy).

I always make several trips through the Exhibit Hall to look at the exhibits. There are some amazing ones, and something different catches my eye each time. I don't know how to quilt, so am very impressed with these quilts and the talent of those who made them.

There are also different booths sent up. The White Pine County Farm Bureau had a game that the kids really enjoyed.

Sunday is the final day at the fair. It starts with the auction for the 4-H market animals. This is a big deal for the kids, as they have spent months raising their animals. (Steers have to be in possession by January 1, so it's a really long time with them!) Many of them use the money they earn for college or other education.

All of our club members did well, and we're really grateful to all the buyers. If you ever want to buy some meat that is raised with loving care, I highly recommend going to a 4-H auction. These are some of the best animals you can buy, as they are fed well, exercised daily, and get lots of personal attention.

A few more photos from the Exhibit Hall. Desert Girl entered a giant zucchini.

Here's Desert Girl's Knot Board. She had learned how to tie all sorts of knots during the summer and made a sampling of them. I thought it was one of the coolest exhibits, although I might be a little biased.

There were lots of weaved hot pads in the fair from our club, as the kids had made them during some meetings.

Following the fair, Desert Girl couldn't resist decorating her backpack with her ribbons! Now the kids are anxiously awaiting their ribbon checks, which is money they get to do what they want with. They're also starting to think about what they want to enter this year. It's a great way to learn more about things that aren't taught in school.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Starting Our 2019 Backyard Bird Count

Hi! Do you like to observe birds? Want to see what's coming and going in your own yard?

We invite you to join us in Desert Survivor's Backyard Bird Challenge  for 2019. We've done it for the last few years, and the kids are getting pretty good at differentiating bird species now. All it takes is a piece of paper and writing down when you see different birds.

In 2014 we had 35 species, in 2015 we had 35 species, in 2016 we had 35 species, and in 2017 we had 36 species.

How many species do you think we got for 2018?

Here's our list:
1. Great Horned Owl (1.1.18)
2. Dark-eyed Junco (1.1.18)
3. European Starling (1.1.18)
4. Black-billed Magpie (1.1.18)
5. Eurasian Collared Dove (1.1.18)
6. Pinyon Jay (1.2.18)
7. American Goldfinch (1.2.18)
8. Cassin's Finch (1.3.18)
9. House Sparrow (1.3.18)
10. Red-tailed Hawk (1.5.18)
11. Common Raven (1.11.18)
12. Bald Eagle (1.17.18)
13. White-crowned Sparrow (1.18.18)
14. Canada Goose (1.19.18)
15. Northern Flicker (2.6.18)
16. Mountain Bluebird (2.7.18)
17. American Robin (2.19.18)
18. Sandhill Crane (2.22.18)
19. Killdeer (3.1.18)
20. Turkey Vulture (3.13.18)
21. Western Meadowlark (3.23.18)
22. Hummingbird (4.15.18)
23. Audubon's Warbler (4.3.18)
24. American Kestrel (4.4.18)
25. Mallard (4.19.18)
26. Northern Mockingbird (4.25.18)
27. Western Kingbird (4.25.18)
28. Barn Swallow (4.25.18)
29. Yellow Warbler (5.7.18)
30. Rough-winged Swallow (5.7.18)
31. Pine Siskin (5.8.18)
32. Bullocks Oriole (5.13.18)
33. Western Wood-Pewee (5.19.18)
34. Common Nighthawk (5.31.18)
35. Coopers Hawk (9.30.18)
We were delighted to watch owls raise two owlets in our backyard this year.
Well, looks like 35 species is pretty consistent for us! None of the lists is exactly the same, which makes me think each year that we can get up to 38 or 39. We've already gotten started this year, although the kids convinced me to put down chickens, and I'm not quite sure that's fair, lol! We'll keep our list on the sidebar (visible on your computer, not sure how you see it on the phone).
This post needs more photos, so
See this post for some more backyard bird photos. 

Happy birding!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates