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Friday, February 5, 2016

Ever Alert

Bozwell is our ever vigilant boy who is the first to hear any noise outside and alert us. The others also alert us but he has super special hearing. Very little goes on in the house that Bozwell doesn't notice.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Blog - Keeping Your Pet Safe

Here is the new blog on Mother Earth News about keeping your fur family members safe when living remotely with the presence of wild animals. To read the blog follow the link:

Frosty Morning

When we open our door this is what we see through the storm door. Beautiful designs on the glass.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Moving Snow

 The only difference between a woman and her toys is the size or her toys. Believe it or not Carol can't hardly wait to get out there in the snow to play with her new machine.....

Monday, February 1, 2016

Keeping Pets Safe Around Wild Animals

Watch for a cross post when the next blog goes live on Mother Earth News about keeping your pets safe when living with predators remotely. The photo shows a couple of the tools we use to train our dogs so they respond immediately when necessary. We have lived here for 19 winters now and not had a pet injured by any of the predators we have like mountain lions, lynx, bobcat, wolf, coyote or bear. It can happen even though you take diligent precautions but by being aware of your surroundings and the risks you lessen the chance. It also helps to have your pets properly trained and prepared.
Some have not been as fortunate and have lost their pets to deer, predators or birds of prey. I'll cross post the link when the blog goes live within the next couple days.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

To our followers-The Hacker/Carol

Have any of you noticed?? The number of followers has gone down from 93 a few days ago to 67 as I write this. We know who the hacker is but there is no way that we can prevent this from happening.

Please either become a follower again or just sign up to receive notification of blog postings by signing up with the link that is right below "followers":

We are praying for the hacker and hope that he finds something better to do with his time.........

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Civilized Posts And Comments Only

Every once and a while we get a vitriolic and mean spirited comment on our blog. We do not post those as they serve no purpose and do not advance or clarify the subject matter and are aimed at the personal destruction or demeaning of the writer.

Mother Earth News won't post them and today one was removed because of its hateful content and it failed to meet their decency requirements. This blog is the same and we will not post hateful or disrespectful comments, or comments that lead you to another site other than Mother Earth News web page.

As to this site I have no problem with decent and respectful discourse. After all it was that type of comments that put me onto the path of discerning what caused our tractor to stop working among other excellent comments.

The comment on Mother Earth News was taken down within 14 hours due to its hateful content. I was provided the email address of the sender along with the IP address and since it seemed to have content that may relate to the vandalism we experienced I will be taking it to the Sheriff to further investigate. Just because some hateful person in our community exports their hate to someone else to publish in order to throw suspicion off the originator doesn't mean that they won't be found out or the person who does their dirty work won't be prosecuted.

This blog is open and welcomes comments that pertain to the subject matter but will not publish personal attacks, hateful comments, or vitriolic comments. It serves no purpose and these blogs are read all over the world and hateful comments will not be posted.

We welcome comments that amplify or add to the subject matter but the person who sent the comment to Mother Earth News needs to seriously seek help for their sick condition.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Puzzle Solved

 I now know the what, when, how, where but don't know the who. Here is the final result on what caused the fuel problem thanks to Stephen and Cletus who each independently put me on the right track. When the tractor suddenly stopped working and stalled and would not restart we knew it was the fuel but had no clue why. The diesel I had in the tank was fresh and had been pre-treated and also I treat all my fuel with anti gel treatment. The results of all my research indicates vandalism. The mechanic who worked on the tractor told me he has never
seen diesel gelled up as bad as the photo above. The reason is that it apparently was untreated bio- diesel that was added to the tank. Untreated bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil or animal fat. It has a cloud point about the same as petroleum diesel but when it goes past its cloud point (cloudy looking) the fat that has been reduced to liquid fuel crystallizes and sinks to the bottom of the tank where it is then fed into the fuel line and clogs the fuel filters. When petroleum diesel gels it looks more like a thick fluid gel which but not so close to a solid like this substance is.

Also when bio-diesel gels and is heated up it doesn't return to liquid where petroleum diesel will go back. I let these filters sit in a warm spot for two days and it remained a solid. When we went to drain the fuel tank there was some fine sediment in the bottom of the tank which normally stays there and that is what the fuel filters are for - to catch that material that you normally get when you buy at a gas station. Bio-diesel has far superior cleaning properties that will flush any debris like this out whereas regular diesel will not. We drained the fuel into a clean white basin and there was fine dirt in the basin which also indicates bio-diesel.

When we went to drain the tank we noted it was filled so high it was even with the filler spout which is something I have never done because it tends to slop out and drips onto the rear tire. Also it had been used a couple times since I last put fuel in the tank which would have lowered the fuel level. All these would indicate that someone had put bio-diesel into the tank.

If it were a gasoline engine the diesel would have damaged the engine. If it were diesel the bio-diesel would turn to a solid when the temperature fell below 10 degrees (F). Even with the two treatments by myself with anti diesel and the pre-treatment by the dealer the untreated bio-diesel would still crystallize when the temperature got cold - which it did. Bio-diesel needs to be specifically treated with additives and anti gel. These are some of the major factors that led to the conclusion the fuel problem was caused by an unknown third party like the dogs alerting us that something was out front just before this happened but my cursory look wouldn't have revealed someone hiding under the deck where the tractor is kept. There were other factors also, but these were the major issues that led to the conclusion the contaminant was bio-diesel.

No one wants to believe someone has vandalized their property and I found it hard to believe too, except for the fact two years ago our log splitter was clearly vandalized in a similar manner. We have now installed surveillance so any further attempts will be provable and can be prosecuted. There is ample evidence to reflect that this was done by a unknown person and not normal gelling. The rest of the fuel was normal in the storage container and only that fuel in the tank had the problem. It still is hard to believe that anyone in our community would do something like this but eventually they will get caught and hopefully prosecuted. With security precautions now in place we should not have another problem but this one cost us $545.00. There was absolutely no evidence that this was normal diesel gelling and every indication pointed to vandalism. Actually when I stop and think about it the method was pretty smart except for the fact the fuel level had been raised to the very top of the filler tube. We will probably never know the 'who' unless they are caught either here or at someone else's property doing their hateful conduct. I hope to be at their trial when they are caught.     

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thanks To A Reader

Several have been following the saga of our tractor and the fuel problem. One reader wrote with a theory which I am very grateful for. Initially I didn't think it would be possible but the more I thought about it the more I could see the possibility. I therefore wrote a friend in Texas that is very knowledgeable on diesel equipment and diesel fuel. I gave him the basic facts and he independently came to the same conclusion that reader Cletus arrived at.

I then started doing some research into the issue and came upon a site that spoke directly to what I was experiencing in detail. It therefore appears that our tractor was vandalized when all the pieces are put into place.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Cletus and Stephen who helped me solve the matter. Thank you  both so much. Your input was indispensable and put this old retired investigator on the right trail.

I have done a blog for Mother Earth News that will be submitted next week with the answer to this perplexing problem with answers as to how it occurred. I don't have the ID of the vandal and most likely won't discover who that is but have taken precautions to insure it won't happen again or if it does I'll have photographic evidence to turn over to the Sheriff.

Stay tuned for this diabolical disclosure next week. Sorry butI  don't want to give a hint until the method is disclosed next week. It is a real mind bender for sure but the facts totally fit the circumstances.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016


As we stand by the front window and watch the Hairy Woodpecker bang away at the deck railing we marvel that they don't get a concussion. If you have ever watched a woodpecker up close you can tell that they hammer away with their beaks at considerable force. They don't seem to suffer wry neck or concussions with this constant pounding. Doing a little research on the woodpecker I found out that their brain is surrounded by a thick platelet spongy bone that protects their brain from damage. Also their thick/strong neck muscles diffuse the blow as they make holes in wood.  They have a third inner eyelid that keeps their eye balls from popping out. So in actuality they are uniquely suited for what they do and that is peck holes in wood in search of insects.

They can become injured however when they fly into a glass window. I recall holding one and calming it for several hours that had flown into our window. It finally did survive but it took a lot of time keeping it from going into shock from the impact. Watching it come around after being knocked out was amazing. It took it quite a while to actually focus to see me even though I was holding it in my hand. Nature equips each species with unique characteristics that help it survive and thrive.  The Hairy Woodpecker is certainly not an exception and is specifically qualified for its survival. Finally when the female Hairy Woodpecker recovered enough to stand on its own and was able to focus its eyes, I placed it on a limb and soon there after it flew off to recover. This species is just one of many unique birds we have that surround our home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Criticism by Sakoieta

Never respond to the words of a critic. If there is a lesson in what has been said, learn it quickly but give yourself credit for knowing something as well. Fight the urge to fight. Don’t argue with people who want to argue just for arguing sake - it eventually rubs off on you. Know who you are, what you believe, maintain your integrity in all things and don’t worry about what other people think in regards to these. Be your own best friend and avoid trouble like poison. It is our way to maintain our integrity in the way we think and act so that others will always know who we are. By being honest and truthful at all times we can stand strong and the truth will speak for itself.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Looking For Happiness - by Sakoieta

It is good to constantly remember as we walk through each day to have a good mind and to be happy. Not just in our outlook but inside of us as well. Some stretch their hands out to the stars seeking happiness and looking for peace and forget the very beauty that grows on their path, at their feet that will give that to them. We cannot ignore those things nearest us and expect happiness to come if and when we do. All things were put here on the Earth for us to enjoy and be happy with. As elusive as it sometimes seems, Happiness does exist and it is often way closer that we think.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Beautiful Snow

 The snow just started and the forecast is for 5-8" which if we get the 8" will bring our grand total so far this winter to 90".  That would be a total of 7 1/2 feet so far and only 170" more to get to our average. Quite frequently the forecasters are wrong and if they say 8" that could mean any number with an 8 in it. (18-28-38") would all qualify. Right now we have about 3" and it is gently falling down. It has warmed up to 19 degrees.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Diesel Fuel Nightmare

 Recently I was outside running the tractor and after a few minutes it started to sputter and not run right. I couldn't figure out what was wrong so I called the dealer who advised it was probably the diesel fuel gelling. To put some anti gel solution in the tank. I did that and when I restarted it everything ran well. That is for about 5 minutes and then it stopped running and regretfully stopped in the drive way where we could just squeeze the Jeep around it.  Back on the phone to the dealer again and I was told to put a tarp over it and direct a heater onto the engine where it would warm the tractor all the way to the back. I did as told and heated the tractor for several hours. Tried again and no luck..would not start. Back on the phone with the dealer and I was advised that I needed to use a certain type of anti gel since the one I had been using for the past 15 years probably was no good. We shoveled the driveway wide enough to get the Jeep around the stalled tractor and carol went into town and bought 1/2 gallon of Howes diesel fuel treatment.  She brought it home and I treated the fuel in the tank. A short time later the mechanic arrived and he took out a huge heater and blasted the tractor with warm air. He then bled the fuel lines and after a time it started back up. It ran but not right and it lacked power.
A couple days later I went to use the tractor again and didn't get very far from where I park it under the deck and it stopped and this time it was pretty obvious that it was not going to start. It sat outside over the weekend and first thing Monday I called the dealer again. Three hours later the mechanic was back and we emptied the fuel tank. There were a couple metal filings in the fuel and some very fine grit. He then changed the fuel filters. The photo below shows the first filter in the fuel line. It had a very thick substance like a super thick hand cream that clogged the filter. The mechanic thought I had gotten a bad batch of fuel but there were several possibilities to choose from. Since the fuel was only a few weeks old it couldn't be the age of the fuel.
 After the fuel tank was drained and all the fuel removed from the tank, lines, he replaced the filters. Then bled the lines again and pretty soon the tractor was running again. The top photo is of the two fuel filters with the worst one being the first in the fuel line and the second one just before the fuel went into the engine. I thought I could tell if the problem was old fuel, bad fuel, vandalism or just coincidence when I cut the fuel filters apart but I couldn't. the fuel that ran out of the filters was like jelly and not liquid. The white creamy material in the filters was thick like lard.
I first suspected possible vandalism since just before this occurred the dogs alerted us to something in the front yard. I went out with a flashlight but was not looking under the deck where the tractor is parked. There could have been someone out there but I didn't think to look under the deck so I'll never know.

I wanted to see what sugar in diesel was like so the third photo is 1/3 cup of white sugar in a bottle of diesel fuel. After three days it did not dissolve and just clumped up on the bottom of the jar. It also clouded the fuel so it was no longer clear.  The result is clearly visible in the photo.

So the verdict is still out as to cause. It could have been bad diesel fuel or vandalism. I can not tell from the content of the fuel filters what the cause could be. It could have been vandalism, or it could have been bad fuel or some unknown cause. This five gallon tank of fuel was treated with three different brands of anti gel diesel treatment and this still happened. When it happened the first time I did look at the filters and they had diesel in them and did not look like the photo on top.

It will just have to remain a mystery and I hope it does not happen again as it has been a long two weeks of no tractor. We have had vandalism in the past when our log splitter was vandalized by opening the fuel line and putting something in the gas tank. Also the oil was contaminated and it took several trips into town and the purchase of a new air filter and a gallon of carburetor soak to get it back running again.

Another time I was working in the garden and noticed something was sticking to my boot. It turned out to be big globs of roofing tar that had been thrown into the garden. Another time our gate was broken off and laying on the ground. Another time the lock on our garage door was turned upside down and encased in ice where someone had frozen it. A candle resolved that quickly.

There is no proof that the tractor was vandalized and I do not believe it was even though I can't explain that grit in the fuel or the putty type white substance in the fuel filter or the jelly like substance that came out of the filter before I cut it open. I'm just thankful that the tractor is running again and as far as the log splitter it runs better now than it did when it was brand new.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tiny Homes/Carol

We have been watching Tiny House Hunters on HGTV and find them to be really interesting and inspiring. Come to find out the son of our friends designs and builds them. Check out his website at

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jack Frost visited us over night!!

Seek Healing And Peace by Sakoieta

In this life we have experienced brokenness, woundedness, and weakness. But by embracing the Spirit of life and living we have also been able to find healing in all of this allowing us to become stronger, more resilient people. As this year comes to an end and another time period begins, let us remember to be as gentle with ourselves and others as we would with a tiny baby. Be honest but with kindness. Determining for ourselves what causes pain, discomfort and dissension and seek healing and peace. The Spirit of life offers this peace of mind, heart and spirit each day, each new year. We only have to be willing to accept it for it to take hold and give us satisfaction, joy, and hope, that we will live a good life, filled with abundance and contentment.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Being True To Yourself - Pondering Of A Mountain Man

Now is that time of year that we make "resolutions" which may be realistic and some not so much. We will resolve to quit smoking, diet to lose weight, be a nicer person, remove the clutter from our lives and so forth. But what about our selves and how we feel about ourselves? Do we give these elements of our life consideration or do we just focus on those items that are mostly external?

I suggest that now is a good time to do some real self evaluation and be honest with how we not only deal with others but how we deal with ourselves. What about those who look at us, smile, and lie right to our face while thinking we are too stupid to realize we are being lied to? Or what about the person who cajoles us one minute and is acting to assassinate us behind our backs? Or what about the bully who at every turn we make tries to intimidate us?

Wouldn't each of these be worthy to evaluate and how we deal with them or avoid dealing with them and how they effect us?  When we are attacked by liars, character destroyers or bullies do we say nothing when we know we should have addressed these false reports against us? Do we withdraw and feel bad about ourselves? Shouldn't we be true to ourselves and approach these areas with realistic methods?

We live in a small community that has its disproportional share of bullies, liars, and back stabbers. In fact our friend list is quite small and contains only those who are of proven character and integrity. As I pondered this topic I came to several conclusions. First even though you withdraw from such groups of people they do not withdraw from you. They find ways to continue to agitate and attack. They range from sneak attacks to direct frontal assaults.  Your silence and withdrawal does nothing but imply to them that you are weak and won't defend yourself and they strive all the harder to involve you against your wishes. Often I have held back to insure their safety.

I have found that you can be polite and non-threatening but that you need to stand up for yourself if you want to be content with who you are. One of my resolutions is to not be aggressive but firm in not being walked all over because of my good nature. I started today having reached my tolerance for those who want to punish you for unfounded machinations that occur only in their head or things they have made up just because they can.

Suddenly without notice our association decided to make it more difficult for us to get our road plowed from snow.  They make promises that they have no intention to fulfill hence ignoring and marginalizing you. If you object they make up stories about you and try their best to spread their lies among as many as possible. In short immature behavior. I sent a letter to our board of directors stating clearly that we were not going to tolerate further poor conduct by those who are being paid to serve our members. I laid the burden on the board and told them clearly, firmly but politely that I wanted to know what they are going to do to alleviate the poor conduct. I have learned that to remain silent only provokes those who are trying to intimidate and bully you.

That is one of my resolutions for 2016, and one I fully intend to maintain. Silence and withdrawal sometimes enables the wrong doers and if done with tact, well considered and presented I will feel much better and those who are the bullies will be drawn out. These are resolutions that may be more worthy than joining a gym or going on some radical diet. Be true to yourself! The pondering of a mountain man.....

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Nature Lessons From The Ant - A Mountain Man's Pondering

Consider the ant: When we are splitting our firewood we occasionally will split a log with ants in it. When their nest is disturbed they don't run around in panic; they immediately organize and collectively gather their eggs and all move to a new location. They don't complain or anguish but they go into action and do not expect someone else to come to their rescue. They move every egg and do not leave a single egg behind. They protect each egg apparently knowing the unhatched off spring will be the future of the entire colony. They move as a group in a specific direction and may have been the originators of the term 'no one left behind'. They may be dislodged from their nest but they don't abandon their eggs. They quickly organize; it is amazing how they all act in unison and it is a puzzle how they communicate so quickly. They seem to lack a leader but don't suffer because of a single leader because they all act collectively and independently. If they are further disturbed they will then fight back by trying to bite the offender with those strong pincers. They don't kill the unborn in the eggs or sacrifice them but they rally to protect them.

Words can be powerful and can be used in various ways to defend our actions whether they are good or bad intentions. Words can be used to distract, distort or twist facts to support an agenda. It seems to me from my observations that ants possess integrity, keeping life simple/basic, as it was designed to be, and value life. I do not write this to offend anyone but simply to demonstrate that one of the smallest creatures can be of immense value when they are observed and lessons are learned from them. They do not try to separate and divide or convince other ants that their way is best. They simply come together and work as a unit to insure their survival and protect the colony.

Keep life simple, be consistent, value life and only fight back when seriously threatened. Those are subjects that the human race could profit from. Perhaps that is why in the book of Proverbs in the Bible the ant is referenced twice. Once to show why not to be lazy: (Proverbs 6: 6-8) "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways, and be wise. Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest".  Or, (Proverbs:31-25),"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer". Clearly dating far back the ant has been used as a study insect to learn from. Ants are associated with a strong work ethic and being wise. The lessons are right there in front of us if we take but a moment to observe and learn. These are the pondering of a mountain man who sees these small creatures as a valuable lesson.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Time For The Kid To Come Out

 It is perfect condition on our driveway for the kid in us to come out...Wheeeee.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Property for Sale!

Are you looking for land in Southern Colorado? Here are two great sites with many parcels for sale:

Head Tilt

Anyone who has had or has a German Shepherd family member is familiar with their head tilt. It will warm your heart and render a human totally helpless. I am just putting the finishing touches on a blog for Mother Earth News about bears. (This is the pic that we saw on Petfinders of our Bozwell!)

The head tilt tells the recipient that you have your fur family members total attention and that they are tuned into you and what you want. Many of the human-black bear encounters turn out unfavorable due to the human over reacting and not observing what the bear is telling you. The head tilt and calm talk sends the message to the bear that you mean it no harm. Just saying......

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Quiet Serene Setting...

In the quiet of the night, with fresh snow on the ground, looking in from the front the lights on the Christmas tree are visible.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Year Of Complaining by Sakoieta'

Any fool can criticize,
condemn and complain - 
and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

This old year is nearly gone and if we described it in two words they would be "complaint filled." People were so unhappy about so much and made it known in every way possible it seemed. There is nothing wrong with letting other people know about what it is that we find unacceptable. But much of the complaining was simply that, really going nowhere and accomplishing very little. Most of the complaining was not solution oriented that would affect long term change or solutions to the present issues. We could be using our voices, our words, our concerns in ways to build, make amends, encourage and enlighten. When all we do is complain we are like the wind howling away and only creating more turmoil to what is already a complicated mess.

Monday, December 14, 2015

After Grooming

 Sarah, age 11, after getting her pet-a- cure and getting her skin stimulated from brushing.

Bozley, age 9, never very far away from that orange or purple squeak rubber ball. (Middle photo) One of the rare moments that he is not on the move... he is constantly on the go herding those two balls.
Echo, age 7, checking out his best buddy Bozwell, age 8, who just wants to rest after his brushing and pet-a-cure. Echo isn't as easy to give a pet-a-cure to. I can do his back feet but he doesn't like anyone touching his front feet. So I have to sneak up on him and do a toe at a time.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Success Formula - Pondering Of A Mountain Man

Success: The accomplishment of an aim or goal.  That is a pretty scanty definition of success in my opinion because different people have lofty goals and rarely achieve them. Some do arrive at success but many don't. Think about your goals and aims that you have set for yourself - are you there yet? Are you even making progress or does it seem that circumstances are against you and holding you back? Do you regularly down grade your aims and goals?

After my eight years in the U.S. Air Force I took my second honorable discharge and went out into the business sector. I will not elaborate on my achievements while in the USAF as they don't apply to success in the highly competitive business world. Suffice it to say I was a driven man who craved upward mobility. Long before I left the USAF I had decided that adjusting insurance claims really appealed to me. I had friends in the Jaycee's trying to convince me to go into life insurance sales and I even took the qualification test with NY Life and scored second highest to the then CEO who held the highest score. I was offered a highly lucrative job which few if any before had been offered. I declined and continued my pursuit of adjusting insurance claims. 

I had sent out several resumes and ended up with three job offers from three national companies. The one I chose was with Hartford because of the person who interviewed me. At the end of the interview he opened his notebook and wrote some words on a piece of paper. After he had offered me the job and I accepted, even though the other two offers were equal or better, he tore off the sheet of paper and handed it to me. There was one sentence on it and I was told that as long as I adhered to that sentence I would have future success. The man who wrote that sentence was John Hill the state manager of Florida who ultimately went on to be vice president of claims for Hartford Insurance Group. He believed in what he wrote and applied it to his personal life and he gave me the best advice/gift that one professional can give a new employee. I don't believe he shared it with everyone but he did share it with me and he told me it would take me far if I stuck to it.  

The sentence John wrote was:  "Find out what your employer expects of you and then give them consistently more". Those simple words took me on a journey that was not only successful but highly rewarding throughout my entire career. I took that piece of paper home with me and read it over and over and decided that I would take the advice of John and apply it to my work. Now some 47 years later and reflecting back to that day when I was given that gift, I have known success beyond anything I would have ever dreamed about or imagined. Using that simple but straightforward formula I could list accomplishments directly related to that gift from John that are simply too numerous to list in this blog or even a series of blogs. 

Later in my career when I was in a position to hire employees I shared that sentence with only a couple people but they also went on to achieve success in a highly competitive business environment where many fail or stagnate. I am now sharing it for others who want to accomplish some level of success in their life and can take and apply that simple sentence and concept to their goals and aims. Of all the books and programs written about success and excelling in the business world that sentence boils it down to its simplest form and I can attest that it works. It is a different lifestyle that you have to personally decide to adopt and apply to your life but when you do it is capable of taking you farther than you ever could imagine. John provided me the best advice possible for success and I thank him for that gift. Good luck....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Living With Nature And Living Simply

I had planned to post this blog on this site but as I was writing it I thought it might have more universal appeal so posted it on Mother Earth News. Check it out at the following link:

In case the reader may not want to change links here is the article re-printed below:
It had been my intent to do a blog about simplicity and nature on our personal blog site but I believe these two topics conjoined have a more universal appeal than the limited exposure our blog site has. Over 20 years ago we made the decision to live a more simple life. Living in the ‘big city’ we had accumulated many possessions that had at best limited function. When we decided on a more uncluttered and simple lifestyle we called an auctioneer and had him auction off the majority of our possessions. We did not get much for them but the liberating aspect was that they were gone and out of our life. When we were keeping them we rationalized that even though we may only use them occasionally they were still worth keeping. We were only lying to ourselves and once they were gone we couldn’t have been happier and felt set free.

Items we currently have are used to maintain our homestead or lifestyle or we don’t buy them to begin with. We have available a local website called Freecycle where we can list items we have no use for so others who may have a use for them can take them off our hands. We also have a local charity with a slightly used store that willingly accepts them. Our goal is to remain uncluttered and live a more simple life not surrounded and cramped by items we rarely or never use anymore. We heat our home with a woodstove and our appliances are basic and simple. We have found that they are much easier to maintain and still provide appropriate function to meet our basic needs.

When we moved to our small cabin in the mountains we were immersed in nature. When it comes to simplicity nature is the gold standard to set our goals by. We have observed that nature is unencumbered with any excess and is simplicity at its best. When we first settled in our cabin we were not crowded with nearby neighbors except for curious wildlife. We had visits from curious bears, a mountain lion, coyotes, and a pair of grey wolves. Most of these wild animals came by to evaluate us and mark out territory. The bears clawed up trees and urinated under them to establish their territory, wolves marked (urinated) and the coyotes set boundaries also. If the mountain lion did we did not see signs of it. Essentially they were telling us we could stay and they would accept it but these were the boundaries we were to respect.  

Some people would get unnerved if a large grey wolf came up to your storm door to look in. Others would get even more excited when a very huge black bear stood on its hind legs and did the same. They were curious about us and whether we posed a threat to them or not. Their lifestyle is simplicity at its best and humans are about their only real threat. When they assured themselves that we posed no threat they became excellent neighbors. As we would move around our 11 acres if we encountered them they tended to ignore us and go about their business. Having an adult bear walk past you almost brushing up against you would cause many to come totally unglued. To have an adult mountain lion come within 8’ of you would be equally unnerving. Once proven as no threat, when we would see the lion (rare occasions) it would just walk on past without showing any hostility or alarm. Same with the bears and when we would be cutting firewood a bear would come and sit and watch us.

The point of this blog is that living simple and not feeling possessive has its rewards. What we have learned from all wild animals over the past 18+ years is how life really is meant to be and how much we didn’t know before we had the opportunity to live with all the creatures. When you are able to get away from the masses and live a simple and basic lifestyle there are more life lessons available if you choose to get along as opposed to defending your homestead or being possessive. Living with the wildlife is an added bonus of a simple lifestyle that we did not anticipate. We knew the animals would be around but we never in our wildest imagination could have anticipated all they would teach us. Everything from the smallest to the largest of animals in our area (elk) are good teachers of virtues. They give and expect respect and are courteous’ they clearly have grown to trust our presence. One day when we are gone and someone else lives here I can only hope that they will be wise enough to not be possessive but be willing to freely share this land with the wildlife.

The rewards are so numerous and have been so beyond our expectations that words can’t fully describe them. I often allude to some lessons learned in these blogs but to list them all is beyond my ability. When I hear people say that is just a deer or just an animal it angers me because that animal is also just the very best teacher of positive virtues like respect, patience, courtesy and integrity that they could find anywhere. Many people are surrounded by so many natural teachers but they are oblivious to them. How enriched their lives would be if they would just interact with them and observe their habits and traits more closely. Expensive homes, luxuries and nice cars are all fine but they don’t have what we have. When you gain the trust of a wild animal/s of any kind, especially those who are also predators, you know in the center of your very being you have something extremely rare that money can’t buy and possessions won’t satisfy. It really depends on what makes you happy and what we experience on a regular basis makes us very happy.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Connecting On Communication by Sakoieta

We really must never assume anything. We can’t assume when we relate to people that they fully understand what we mean or what we are thinking. Every person perceives communication of any kind in different ways. What may seem to be absolutely clear in my mind may be partially understood in others minds, yet they may be thinking of something entirely different. We often assume too much, ask too little and don’t take into consideration that not everyone is on the same wave length. We need to constantly be aware of this if we seek total understanding and complete understanding of each other.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Routine And Respect

I have a routine each morning and have for over 35 years. When I arise in the morning I take care of personal needs and then sit down with a cup of coffee and do my morning bible study and prayers. Our current canine family members can tell that this is a special time for me and hence they lay down and wait because they know when I am finished they will get fed. Here in the photo all four can be seen napping or just laying there waiting. They respectfully do this every morning. They have not been trained nor have I demanded they give me this time alone even though we are all in the same room. They instinctively know that this is special time and they show me respect by not bothering me during this time.  This blog is about respect.

For my friends, family, acquaintances or just the casual reader this particular blog is aimed at the respect our family members give me each morning and not about my faith or beliefs. If you are offended because I pray or read the bible each morning I'm sorry because that is not the intent of this blog. I am not ashamed or timid over my belief nor my routine on how I start each day. This should not offend anyone but if it does you have lost the intent and nature of the blog which is undeserved respect freely and willingly given.

Alamosa, CO. Trip

I haven't been shopping in Alamosa for several weeks but yesterday was the day because I needed some blood work done. This is just one of several beautiful views on the drive to Alamosa.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fresh Snow

 We received 11" of fresh snow last night and yesterday afternoon. Doesn't look like I will be cooking breakfast very soon on the outside cook stove. Last year at this time we had 26" of snow and so far this year we have 39" so this may prove to be a wetter winter but 5 months to go so who knows for sure.
 Need to keep those birds fed as finding something to eat this time of year is tough for them. To see the photo better click on the photo.

The view from our front window. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Random Thoughts Of A Mountain Man - Truth

What is truth? Diogenes spent his life looking for a truthful man. The definition of truth says: The quality or state of being true, That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. A fact or belief that is accepted as true. Who or what do you believe now days as being truthful? The media? Those who have an agenda and are good at spinning a yarn or telling half truths and not the whole truth? I think finding the truth today is much harder than in the past. Social media people can spin a story that makes them look good. It used to be that only lawyers could or would come up with some twisted yarn and try to convince others of its validly but now ordinary people have learned how to tell half truths or no truths and make it sound convincing.

Where does our personal responsibility come in if we are truly seeking the truth? I would say first of all that our responsibility is to tell the truth ourselves. Not as what we perceive is true but what is based on fact or reality. When someone tells us something that doesn't have that ring of truth to it or raises our suspicions we should check it out ourselves. If it involves or is about another person we should  contact that person for their version. If there were others present we should seek their version or observations. If it is important enough we should spend the time to check it out. With all the electronic ability we have now days it is easy to verify versions if we but just take the time or make the effort.

It is easy to listen to only one version but what if you listened to the wrong version. You should never repeat what you have heard if you only have one version and it doesn't make sense to you. If you actually consider all facts you just might be inclined to take the other side. If you accepted a friend's version and find out they did not tell you the truth you could lose a friend but just how valuable is that friend if they will lie to you in the first place? Telling a lie or distortion will, when found out, damage the credibility of that friend and will undermine the trust that may have built up over the years.

When you tell the truth you don't have to be concerned with having to remember what version you may have told others. When you don't tell the truth you lose credibility with family, friends or acquaintances. Once credibility is lost people will question everything you say after you have been caught in a lie or distortion.

So how valuable is truth in the scheme of things today? Being a truthful person is a virtue that defines just who and what you are. I believe it is very important and being known as someone who is truthful always reflects favorably on your character. To NOT tell the truth will catch up with you sooner or later and when it does the damage to your character can be devastating. Just being tagged with being less than truthful is embarrassing and can be devastating to your credibility not to mention your own self worth.

I remember when I was a member of the SAC Elite Guard and a fellow guard seemed like an interesting fellow who had led a very interesting life. After a while his stories became more self aggrandizing and more hard to believe. Another guard member did what the rest of us should have done and he checked out his increasingly hard to believe stories. The result was that he was a habitual liar and when discovered he was promptly dishonorably discharged from the service. Our jobs were highly sensitive and we had to be 100% truthful because of the authority and responsibility we were given and if you couldn't tell the truth all the time you were a security liability. We all carried the highest security clearance to the most sensitive areas and we had to be truthful to be relied on. His lies cost him any career opportunities that he may have desired. Being truthful is a way of life that enhances your character and if you are less than truthful your reputation, credibility and character will suffer because of it.

Truth is the bedrock of your character and most other virtues are built on truth. Truth is a virtue that reputations are built upon. I have met those who choose to lie and be deceitful when telling the truth would be the proper choice. They have lost the ability to tell the difference between truth and lying so they automatically revert to what comes easy for them and that is lying. If you value your reputation and character you should hold being truthful as the most important virtue on your list of virtues. Being truthful should be right ahead of integrity. That is this old mountain man's random thoughts and opinion.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

our woods taken from our swing...silence is golden.........

Ready For More Snow

 We clear a path for access and to use the vehicles and then work piecemeal to clear the rest of the snow. We have defined where the driveway is and have cleared the snow so we are now ready for the next storm due tomorrow night. Between the wind and the sun the snow on the driveway has mostly gone.

Random Thoughts Of A Mountain Man - Integrity

Integrity: "The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles: Moral uprightness. The state of being whole and undivided". Or as C.S. Lewis says above - Doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching. Integrity is something that can take a lifetime to establish and only takes a moment to destroy. Integrity is something that you need to be consistent with or you can lose respect from family, friends and acquaintances. I believe that we are all born with a moral compass of right and wrong but it needs cultivating or it dies if unused. Parents need to instill and reinforce it when we are young or it will never develop fully. Giving a child a start on integrity is much more rewarding than giving them a video game.

Integrity defines who you are and what your character represents to others. It is something that requires a long term effort and while it embraces your true self it must be constantly sought after because it defines you. Desiring your own way or not conducting yourself with honor/honesty rarely goes unnoticed. When you do not treat others with respect, fairness or honor them it is usually found out and can undermine your credibility with others. Some people seem to put a low value on integrity but when they finally realize how valuable it is the time may already be past in obtaining it.

Integrity  when taught at a young age, if followed, will serve a person an entire lifetime. Integrity can not be bought but instead it must be slowly earned. Integrity is not about quantity but quality. It is not a about a few acts of random kindness and then cheating or taking advantage of others when you think no one is watching because almost always someone will be watching you and your conscience will know as well.

Integrity is more valuable than gold and as allusive to some as trying to push back the tide. A person with integrity will have honest and true relationships whereas someone lacking integrity will never feel fulfilled and will be lacking something they can't put their finger on. Those who lack integrity often strongly resent those who have it. It is a reminder to them of their shortcomings and what they should be.

We need to instill these values in our children if we want them to be successful in life and reinforce it throughout their lives, even through adulthood. In spite of our best efforts though some will not embrace it and then ultimately find it too late to develop. The more you make decisions in life that are not moral decisions the more your moral compass is skewed. It is not always easy to take the moral path but in the end it is the most rewarding.

 Many people; especially in their later years are concerned about their legacy. They want to be known as having integrity but sadly lack it. I would hope when I am gone that those who know me well would say he was one tough guy but he had integrity and you could always count on him when needed. His moral compass was spot on.These are some of the random thoughts of a mountain man who has worked his entire life trying to be honest and maintain strong moral values. Looking back it was the easier road to travel and now I can see how it has enriched my life.