Thursday, 6/28/18

Had several good weather days here in SE Montana. Just started prospecting for fossils Monday and Tuesday; feels like just getting my feet wet again and getting back into the groove of knowing what to look for. It seems that it takes a few days of just walking around to start to “get my eyes right” to be able to spot hidden treasures.

It was a really cool evening sky Tuesday. While forecasted heavy storms with possibly golf ball sized hail was predicted for 2 or 3 counties to the east of my location we saw beautiful sunsets here. This photo is looking east toward the storms while the sun sets behind me –

Helped a local rancher friend cut hay on Wednesday. Imagine the scene; a city fellow from Indiana (way east of the Mississippi River) volunteering to get in a big bi-directional tractor with a swather (18′ long lawn mower) attached, trying to steer it so hay left on the ground in something resembling straight rows! There I was steering, watching and adjusting the tilt of the swather, trying to keep rpm’s set at certain level adjusting the speed all while trying to go straight so person coming behind with huge rotating rake can blend two cut rows together into one so baler can come after and bale it all up. It was fun.

Hard to tell, but it is me in there.

Went out prospecting for fossils early this morning; didn’t find anything but a bit of wildlife. I stirred up a bunny rabbit who ran off looking back over its shoulder at me, saw a coyote run away on the ground below when I was up above it on a butte, noticed a mule deer fairly close by just kind of looking puzzled my way, and heard the distinctive sound of a rattle about 5′ in front of me. Thankful the rattlesnake heard me coming and let me know with the rattle warning. I made a wide pass by as it quickly shot under a large rock. I did notice it must have just shed its skin as a whole shed was right outside the hole going under the rock.

A couple of unusual things are happening here. To everyone’s happiness it has rained a lot in June and the grass the cattle eat is high and green all over. Pretty remarkable for this time of year to be so green out here. The other thing out of the norm are ever present mosquitoes. I’ve never before experienced mosquitoes while looking for fossils in these high plains desert exposed badlands. And I’m not a fan of them. The two things are surely related; rain equals grass and standing puddles equals mosquitoes.