Holiday Greetings to All
The year 2003 was a good one for the Ballensky's.  Everyone is healthy and doing well. The hay, grain, and calf crops were all good and we feel fortunate for what was given us.

The highlight of the year for Mike as always was hunting. He drew an elk bull tag for the Jordan area. Damian too drew a cow tag for western Montana so they made that hunt first, but were unsuccessful. Then Mike and Troy left for the Jordan country. The first trip they too were unsuccessful, but when Mike returned just for a day of scouting he managed to find a bull. We also had hunters on our place from Minnesota, California, and New York .

Darlene's life has altered in that she now is working full time from November 1st through May 31st which has taken some getting use to especially through the holiday season. November also was challenging because she not only had to start back to work, but she was often home alone and had to feed the bull calves before going to work. She was glad to see the end of hunting.

Jason is still in San Diego working for Qualcomm on their cell phone chips and caving when he's not there.  He made a longer trip to Guatemala in early April, and then came to Montana for three weeks at the end of July.  Molly and Darlene met up with him before he left and went on the 26 mile Beaten Path hike from Cook City to East Rosebud.

Troy graduated from MSU-Billings in the spring of 2003.  He got a job fire fighting with the BLM and was stationed at Fort Howes near Ashland, Montana through the middle of August where he was on an initial attack engine.  Then he worked for a contractor at the Roberts and Wedge fires near Kalispell and the Fist Creek Complex fire west of Missoula. He came home the end of September, helped Mike seed in October and get things completed for hunting, hunted in November, and is now trapping.  He's hoping to get a fire fighting job in New Mexico in 2004.

Molly is in her last year of college at MSU-Bozeman in elementary education. When she finishes in May she will still have her student teaching to do and she plans to do that in New Zealand from August 2004 through December 2004, and then she will actually graduate in the spring of 2005. She lived in Billings during the past summer and had a job life guarding.

Damian is in his second year at Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City in the carpentry program. He seems to be enjoying it more, but is either on site building or at his job helping someone build their house. He spent the summer at home and was kept busy being the only kid left at home.

Have a Happy Holiday Season and a Great New Year!

Darlene and Mike

2001 Christmas Letter
2002 Christmas Letter