What to expect over the course of a year!

January – often the coldest month of the year.  Plenty of snow with temps dropping to negative teens.  Creek barely audible under snow- pack.  Mammoth Mountain snow conditions unbeatable.  All plants and trees dormant, no leaves at all.  January is no joke!  Keep the wood fire tended.

February – temps milder, but overall very similar to January.

March – I always tell the family if you can hold out until March we’ll pretty much have the winter beat. (and those energy bills too)  Intense March sun melts snow and gets the bulbs warmed up.  Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, and garlic break ground.  Creek thaws out.  Medium sized snowstorms still a possibility, always carry chains if visiting.

April – Pretty much everything starts greening up and growing, necessary to start irrigating.  The aspen forest is still bare.  Snow on Mammoth still good, one can ski in the morning and go fishing or golfing (Bishop) later on in the day.  An inch or two of snowfall not uncommon in April – but melts quick.  Temps often drop below freezing in the evenings, but nothing the pot belly stove can’t handle.  Official fishing season opener is the last Saturday in April – fish hungry.

May – All fruit trees in bloom, Lilac bushes in bloom, aspen forest begins leafing out.  Snowfall and below freezing temps during night time rare but can happen.  Planting vegetables and decorative flowers best suited to after Memorial weekend.  The creek begins to really pick in sound and momentum.  The bats make it back from Mexico and the Owens Valley.

June – wildflower peak for backyard, creek can wash away small children and animals.  Aspen forest completely leafed out.  

July – on the fourth the Kelley’s Tiger Lily peaks.  Good progress is being made on fruit trees and fruit bushes.  Cherries ready if you can out-wit the birds.  Some gooseberries become ready along with currants, berry-blue, and service berries.  Creek plateaus and then begins the slow down to fall.  Bugs are out in force, but so are the bats.  We may very well house over a couple hundred over the course of the summer.  Nighthawks also viewable right at dusk.  Chance of afternoon thundershowers.  Sometimes July can beat out August for the hottest temps of the year.

August – most of the berries are ready to eat, plums ripen.  Mosquitoes begin to taper off and all of the higher elevation hikes are just perfect.  Noticeable slow down in the creek – life is good.  Better chances of afternoon thundershowers.

September – occasional chilly mornings but great time of year as people all head back to work and schooling.  Sometimes the backyard aspens start turning yellow towards the end of the month.  Great time of year to visit the Apple Hill Ranch down near Bishop to pick your own fruits and vegetables.

October – my favorite time of the year.  Cold and warm days, aspens glow after the sun sets.  Pears and apples ripen up and are ready to eat.  Please help yourself to some apples.  First dusting of snow on the higher peaks.  Easiest time of the year to catch fish.  Aspens can lose their leaves early with a good wind-storm.

November – mostly summery days with freezing temps at night.  Cold snaps may freeze the surface of the creek entirely, making it jump the bank once in a while.  If the snow comes then it stays cold during the days.  All the leaves are gone, hues of browns and grays dominate.  50/50 chance of great skiing on Mammoth Mountain.  Bats have headed south.  Occasionally we do too.

December – winter in full swing.  Lots of snow, cross country ski out the back door.  The backyard forest is surprisingly bright with the absence of leaves against full sun on snow — plenty of views through the trees to Crowley Lake.  Moonlight skiing and snowshoeing are possible.  Mandatory use of wood burning pot belly stove.